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Can Doctrine Be Trusted?

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Sometimes it seems like nothing is solid. Everything, even within the Church, seems to be up for debate. Is this true? How solid is Catholic doctrine? On what basis can we trust that it won’t shift?


CK:
Hello and welcome again to Catholic Answers Focus. I’m Cy Kellett, your host, and we welcome back our Chaplain, Father Hugh Barbour, delighted to see you again, Father.

FHB:
Nice to see you.

CK:
For this episode of Focus in which we’re going to discuss Catholic doctrine and where it can change, where it can’t change, or where it might develop and where it can’t develop. So maybe we could start with, when we say doctrine, what do we mean? What is that? What’s a doctrine of the church? And then we can talk about what can happen to that.

FHB:
Well, the word, doctrine, comes from the Latin word, docere, which means to teach.

CK:
Okay.

FHB:
And so a doctrine is something that you have learned from another. There are certain truths which can be learned by experience, and there are certain truths that can be learned from another by way of teaching, the two basic ways of coming to know something. Now the church places such an emphasis on doctrine, that is knowledge by way of teaching, because the things that she teaches, the principle things that she teaches, the most fundamental ones are truths which we could not come to know by our experience, but rather we have to be taught by God, all right, through a gift. And that gift we sometimes call the gift of faith, is God has to enlighten our mind and give us the grace to have such strength of will as to submit to the truths that he’s revealing to us.

So, that’s why, although there’s a lot of talk also about the experience of Christian life and how you experience Jesus, you experience the sacrament, you experience liturgy, you experience all kinds of things. The experience as such is not what constitutes our faith. Our faith is in what God has taught us. That’s why in St. Matthew’s gospel, says, “He sat down and he began to teach them saying,” and he gave the sermon on the Mount.

CK:
Right, yes. Yeah.

FHB:
I remember as a teacher, that’s what rabbi means. The reveal religion, the true religion, which includes that of the Old and the New Testaments, is a religion of teaching or instruction, okay?

CK:
Okay.

FHB:
It is, no, Christian believers told, “Go out and experience all the things that I’ve experienced.” A lot of fake new age, swamis, teachers, whatever, they tell their followers, “Well, you have to go and experience what I’ve experienced, and then you’ll know.”

CK:
Right.

FHB:
Now, our Lord doesn’t say that. He says [crosstalk 00:02:32], “I am the truth, and I’m going to tell you what the truth is. And then in following me and carrying your cross, you’re going to have some experiences which are significant, than you’ll add in your own experience to, the evidence you might say, of the truth that I’m teaching.” So, it means teaching, which means knowledge, which comes not from experience but from the mind of another. And then-

CK:
Ah, okay.

FHB:
So in this case it’s God’s mind.

CK:
Right.

FHB:
Okay. So, that’s the first sense of the meaning of the word, doctrine. But then normally when we hear doctrine, we think doctrine of the church.

CK:
Yes. Right.

FHB:
Right.

CK:
That sounds very, I don’t know, it sounds very official, doctrine of the church.

FHB:
Yes. Right. Doctrine of the church, right. And that of course reversed to the fact that Christ entrusted to His apostles and to the church, which was ruled by them, the deposit, we say the deposit of the faith, that He gave for them faithfully to keep and to instruct the faithful as the years went by, until He comes again in glory. So, He gave to His church, within certain limits and for particular purposes, the guarantee that the church herself would not so misrepresent or neglect His teaching as to jeopardize the eternal salvation of His followers.

CK:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

FHB:
So that’s the basic. So in other words says the apostles, “He who hears you, hears me.”

CK:
Yeah.

FHB:
Or you’re Peter, and, “Upon this rock, I’ll build my church and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it.” These kinds of promises that the Lord gives to those who are accredited teachers in the church, that when they teach something as revealed by God, that’s all together, or when the person, the Pope, in our case is Roman Catholics, that we will not be misled, that we will not be taught something which is false or untrue.

CK:
Is part of the reason that he gives them this, to me, I always have this analogy and maybe this analogy fails and you can tell me if it does, but that many of the things that Jesus gives are a full plant of wisdom. But he gives the seed, and the then the seed has to grow over time. The plant doesn’t become something different, it’s the same thing that Jesus gave, but over time it has to grow into the place where it’s planted.

FHB:
Right. You’re talking here, of the question, the development of doctrine.

CK:
Okay.

FHB:
Yeah,

CK:
But I guess part of why I’m saying that is that… so Jesus gave the authority to the these, as you said, appointed figures, or these-

FHB:
The apostles and their successors-

CK:
Right, right.

FHB:
… under the Pope.

CK:
Okay. So-

FHB:
[crosstalk 00:05:27] Peter.

CK:
He gave them the authority because somebody needs to recognize what’s authentically coming from that seed and what’s not coming from that seed. Is that a fair analogy or am I…?

FHB:
Well I use the word, deposit.

CK:
Okay. Yeah, which is more traditional.

FHB:
There’s a fundamental body of truth revealed by God for the salvation of the world, and the church takes care of that deposit. But that doesn’t mean… the seed image is a very good one in the sense that certain things which have been revealed are capable of further explanation or development over time, which is something which we see already happening in the New Testament. For example-

CK:
Right.

FHB:
… that the old law was replaced by the new, is an issue-

CK:
Yeah, Jesus-

FHB:
… other words first followers.

CK:
Right.

FHB:
So we don’t have to keep the kosher laws anymore. And so, there’s a little bit of a controversy over that.

CK:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

FHB:
And it becomes very, very clear that, that’s part of the essence of the Christian faith, that the old law has been replaced with regard to matters that touch on worship by the new law of the sacraments instituted by Christ. And that involves a little bit of a controversy, but the apostles resolve that difficulty and understanding and teach authentically all of one mind, but not without a certain historical struggle. Paul had to correct Peter. Now Peter was the Pope, but Paul had to correct him because he was giving the impression that maybe Christians still have to observe the old law.

CK:
Yeah.

FHB:
He didn’t teach that, so it’s not like a Pope teaching error, but he gave the impression, he just edified-

CK:
He was kind of misbehaving-

FHB:
… he does that, well, out of fear.

CK:
Yeah.

FHB:
Peter was given to kind of emotional reaction, so he did, he kind of stayed away from the issue and ate separately and all of that. So there are always controversies in the church’s history, even between Popes or bishops, and the lady of course as well, regarding the sense of what our Lord teaches us. But the resolution offered by the church, the definitive resolution, is always a reliable one, otherwise it wouldn’t be the church Christ founded.

CK:
So this is an important dynamic that goes forward then, that doctrine develops or flowers or is more fully expressed throughout the history of the church, because things come up that didn’t come up in Jesus’ time, that-

FHB:
Right.

CK:
… there’s constantly new challenges that have-

FHB:
That are already implied in what He’s revealed.

CK:
Yeah. Okay. Right.

FHB:
I think there the image is not so much as seed as it is the human body. I mean, your body is the same body you had when it was conceived in the womb, or fertilized in the womb.

CK:
Yeah, it’s the same very body, right.

FHB:
It’s the same very body, and yet there’s not a single cell in you right now which is identically the same cell. There’s something else which constitutes the essence of your body-

CK:
Okay.

FHB:
… and it is continuous and it develops all along-

CK:
Yeah.

FHB:
… and so that it’s truly you. It’s not another being or being who’s being is incompatible with the one that began, so it’s an organic development. So the church’s teaching can develop, but it’s always found to be of the same nature, the same identity as the original.

CK:
And is that what we mean when we say that the doctrine doesn’t change, the doctrine of the church doesn’t change?

FHB:
That’s what we-

CK:
But in essence, it’s always… so it has to be same and it can’t contradict-

FHB:
It doesn’t contradict the original deposit.

CK:
Yeah. Right.

FHB:
But there is such a thing as doctrine development, meaning that our insight into the truths of the faith grows over time so that the church can teach authentically regarding conclusions that were reached later.

CK:
Yes.

FHB:
Now another question comes in and that is, “But to those things need to be defined as teachings? Are they part of the deposit of faith?” Some might be, some might not be.

CK:
So you have to reason out which [crosstalk 00:09:23] actually in the deposit.

FHB:
But the church has the authority to teach authoritatively about things that touch closely on doctrines. So certain issues that wouldn’t have arisen and couldn’t have been imagined to arisen in early Christianity might resolve later on by the church’s authority because the doctrine developed in such a way that we have insights that allow us to apply them.

CK:
Oh, to the application. So the church has the authority, not just to say what the doctrine is, but to apply it in a situation or in the various situations that-

FHB:
For example, John Paul II, they always talk about women’s ordination and all that, and he made it very clear that the church cannot ever ordain women to the ministerial priesthood.

CK:
Right.

FHB:
She has not the authority to do it. And he fulfilled every requirement for a binding definition in that statement. But his teaching on women otherwise is something which could not possibly be defined as dogma because it applies to women in our current circumstances and our particular culture of Western Europe and of the Western world.

CK:
Right.

FHB:
Where you wouldn’t be able to say 500 years ago, that women have the right to equal pay for equal work, and take their place in the parliaments and-

CK:
Because that’s not how society functioned.

FHB:
… of society.

CK:
Right.

FHB:
That would be a ridiculous thing for the church to say because it wouldn’t have anything to do with the actual concrete circumstances in which the people live.

CK:
Right.

FHB:
Now, if society develops such a strong sense of the rights of an individual and the equality of men and women politically, politically is very different from spiritually, it’s clear in the gospels, it’s clear in the epistles that women and men are equal as spiritual beings.

CK:
Right.

FHB:
But whether they’re equal socially has to do with the society, god did not reveal the perfect society. He didn’t reveal that. He revealed-

CK:
Now, we had Bernie Sanders to do that.

FHB:
Right.

CK:
Bernie has to [crosstalk 00:11:21].

FHB:
That’s right, and you can help.

CK:
Okay. Just one buck, that’s all I’m asking for. Yeah. Well, I mean it’s not just Bernie, it’s all modern politics [crosstalk 00:11:35] society, yeah.

FHB:
He’s the most endearing of those.

CK:
Yeah.

FHB:
He’s such a classic type. But God did not reveal the perfect human society on earth, He revealed the way to salvation and to the way to the perfect heavenly society.

CK:
Yeah.

FHB:
And there will see what equality and what hierarchy mean, but in the meantime, the church still has to respond though to circumstances. And so the Pope authoritatively and authentically, the word is authentic, using his office, will teach that, no, you can’t pay a woman less than a man in certain circumstances.

CK:
Right.

FHB:
Right. Or that women should be encouraged to take their place in the political systems of a country.

CK:
Right.

FHB:
Now you can dislike that position very strongly. And you can even say, “I don’t think the Pope was being that prudent in this particular case, because these social changes that we have, have not been good for human society.” In which case you’re free to say that because the Pope cannot define that women have to take a particular place in society, that doesn’t have to do with the relationship between man and woman bearing children for the worship of God, [crosstalk 00:12:45] say that’s [crosstalk 00:12:47] fallible and definitive.

CK:
Yeah.

FHB:
But in the meantime, he will teach on these issues that have to do with social matters. And that’s authentic teaching, it’s done with a view to maintaining the order of charity and right order in society because the church has never promoted revolution, even with systems that were not that perfect.

CK:
Yeah.

FHB:
But the churches position is not, “Well this kind of government is horrible, so let’s just overthrow the whole thing.”

CK:
No.

FHB:
The church’s position is that people can live tranquilly and in a dignified an orderly way so as to maintain their life in view of eternal life.

CK:
Yeah.

FHB:
And so the church is not always calling for a change in the political system just because it has certain aspects that are unjust. I mean you might say that the church might add to the Declaration of Independence that there are also certain inalienable wrongs that we would like to avoid.

CK:
I never thought about that. That’s a well phrased-

FHB:
In revolting-

CK:
… inalienable wrongs.

FHB:
… legitimate authority.

CK:
Yeah.

FHB:
And our founders of our country, they revolted against legitimate authority, there’s no doubt about it.

CK:
Yeah.

FHB:
And they didn’t get any support from any hierarchy known to man, right? Just like the Irish. The Irish, they were always communicated for revolting against the crown of England.

CK:
Yeah.

FHB:
All those [crosstalk 00:14:04] guys hear that Irish Catholics, they did, because the bishops didn’t want social unrest. They wanted tranquility and a legitimate government, and then seeking redress to normal means. That doesn’t mean, as Paul VI pointed out, and [Popolo Impressio 00:14:18], that there aren’t certain circumstances when people just simply have to take matters in their hands and revolt.

CK:
Right.

FHB:
But the fact is, those kinds of things about which modern Americans seem to be so certain, about politics, we know all about that because we’ve watched X news or X news or X news.

CK:
Yeah.

FHB:
Those things are the things about which reasonable men can disagree.

CK:
Yes, okay [crosstalk 00:14:39].

FHB:
But, there’s such a thing as a man and a woman, and that their union in marriage is the foundation of all human society. Period. Without exception.

CK:
We can’t, we’re not free to disagree.

FHB:
We’re not free to disagree with that, and that’s what the church teaches. And if you accept that premise, you can allow for a variety of governments and political systems and ways of going about things, but you will understand better human history if you start that as a premise-

CK:
Yeah.

FHB:
… so you don’t demonize the past. See one of the problems is, is that everything has to change because everything was bad before it was now, and that’s the whole attitude.

CK:
That is, that’s true. I [inaudible 00:15:14] That’s why we’re tearing down all the statutes-

FHB:
Tearing down all of these statues and now they’ve even got, all over Alabama, they’ve got to take down anything [crosstalk 00:15:21].

CK:
We’ve become very courageous in our battles against dead people, right?

FHB:
Right.

CK:
We’ve finally triumphed over the dead.

FHB:
Dea, white male people.

CK:
Yeah, all kinds of dead people are being dispossessed.

FHB:
Right.

CK:
But let me ask you this then, so let me give you an actual concrete example of what appears to be a doctrine of the church that appears over time to have changed. And then I want you to tell me maybe kind of suss out what actually has happened here.

FHB:
Okay.

CK:
And I’m going to use the example of the churches teaching on usury.

FHB:
Yes, I knew you would do that.

CK:
You knew that was going to be it?

FHB:
Well, that’s an easy one. It’s easy target, so fine, usury.

CK:
Okay.

FHB:
All right, now the teaching, and it’s a scriptural teaching,-

CK:
Against usury?

FHB:
Right. The Old Testament forbids taking an interest from loans.

CK:
Right. Okay.

FHB:
And it lists the qualities of the just man, “He takes no interest in the loan.” All right? It’s right there, okay?

CK:
Am I wrong about this? That a Jew couldn’t take interest on a loan to another Jew but could take interest on a loan to a Gentile, or am I-?

FHB:
That’s further commentary.

CK:
Oh, all right. Okay.

FHB:
Beware of the commentaries.

CK:
Okay, fair enough, yeah.

FHB:
Because a love for the stranger was a very important thing.

CK:
Oh yeah, okay.

FHB:
Now, they probably wouldn’t mind if they were at war with someone, and that would be different, but that’s another question. But the way it works is this, and this is why the teaching can change, not the essential teaching that you’re not allowed to take someone else’s need as an opportunity for gain for yourself, when someone has need and needs to borrow from you, you should lend to them in the in terms of what constitutes the common good of your society.

CK:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

FHB:
And that’s the key notion of the Catholic notion of social justice is common good.

CK:
Okay.

FHB
All right? That is that we’re not the rugged individualist where we’re not libertarians. Sorry, I’ll name a party, but we’re not. Catholicism and libertarianism, they don’t match. [inaudible 00:17:13] So if you want to go on and on about how you can’t be a socialist and a Catholic, you can also say you can’t be a libertarian and a Catholic either.

CK:
Right, but you can-

FHB:
Just remember that buddies.

FHB:
But you can’t even be a basic American, rugged individualists, that is not the Catholic understanding of what a human person is.

CK:
No, exactly, no. Fair enough.

FHB:
It’s the common good of society, which means that, and you can agree, personally, I think libertarians are less damaging to the common good than socialists, but neither-

CK:
But we’re supposed to promote the fullness of economy.

FHB:
Right. But neither ideology promotes the true common good of human society, ergo-

CK:
Yeah.

FHB:
… and that has to do with circumstances too, because these are imperfect systems. So with usury, the fact is you’re not permitted to take advantage of someone else’s need simply in order to enrich yourself. Now this is all the more important, and now we’re not talking about making money off of business where you’re selling stuff to support your family, all more important is do it in a way which is immoral. Now, when money had a stable value so that the lender was not going to suffer any loss by lending to you…

CK:
Yes.

FHB:
… for you then to charge, when you are not going to suffer any loss at all, is an injustice and that was forbidden, utterly forbidden. Now that’s back when money had the same value from century to century-

CK:
Yeah, right, yeah.

FHB:
… and that’s a consideration.

CK:
A shekel is a shekel is a shekel, and it goes on and on because it’s [crosstalk 00:18:42].

FHB:
Or 100 sheep are a 100 sheep are 100 sheep.

CK:
Yeah, yeah, okay. Right.

FHB:
Remember the original word, the word pecunia, where you say pecuniary, the word for money in Latin means, livestock.

CK:
Oh, okay.

FHB:
Okay? That’s where it begins. Then they make gold or silver or bronze represent the value of livestock, so it’s called pecunia because it’s the equivalent. You get farther and farther and farther away from the physical reality that is the foundation of the society.

CK:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

FHB:
And so in ancient societies, if you didn’t have a farm and flocks, you couldn’t make it.

CK:
No.

FHB:
Now, and then later it was, well, as long as you had a whole lot of gold, then you could make it, even if he didn’t have any farms anymore more, you were repossessing people’s farms and taking gold in place of it and they went off to beg on the streets, that’s the history of early modern England. And then that sort of perspective, it little by little, the money becomes farther and farther divorced from any kind of reality. So now the conservatives are saying, “Well, we ought to go back to the gold standard.” Well, gold is an artificial standard also, right? And so now, [crosstalk 00:19:54] now we go where the money is actually leveraged debt, and that’s all, it doesn’t exist at all.

CK:
Yeah.

FHB:
And so money is a psychological agreement among many different people-

CK:
It really is.

FHB:
… not to blow the whole thing up, basically.

CK:
Right.

FHB:
So, we’re at a very unsteady situation with regard to the nature of money. So, it’s easy to see that the church’s approach to taking of interest on loans changed dramatically as the use of and the nature of money changed, and it did change.

CK:
Okay.

FHB:
Not it began in the Renaissance period with the Florentine bankers, where you could charge for the risk you were taking. Because if you started with businesses, his principle job was to lend out money, well then they were taking a risk. Most guys, they have, or gals for that matter, if they have a whole lot of money, they might lend some of it just to be good. But what if they went in the business of just lending money, period? Well then their risk is considerably greater, and they might ask for some kind of [inaudible 00:20:51].

CK:
Right, yeah.

FHB:
And so you have to look at the nature of money. As traditionally forbidden in the Bible, it means that you don’t make money off of something whose value is not diminished or threatened when you give it to somebody else, okay?

CK:
Yeah.

FHB:
That’s the idea. And that situation barely exists anymore.

CK:
Okay, so now I’m listening to that and I’m a person who is very concerned about the moral decline of the world, which it just seems to be picking up pace, so that person says, “Well, what about, not ethics around money, not morals around money, but the sexual doctrines of the church?” Maybe homosexuality for example, just to take an example, not to pick on anybody, but this is an actual argument you hear. Homosexuality as it was understood in the New Testament, isn’t the same as what we have today. So isn’t that the same as money in the New Testament, isn’t the same as the money we have today, Father?

FHB:
No, it’s not.

CK:
All right.

FHB:
The point at first, I do say, in spite of certain translations, that there is no such thing as homosexuality in the New Testament.

CK:
Okay.

FHB:
Or anywhere in the scriptures, it’s a 19th century word that misrepresents the issue. And that’s part of the problem.

CK:
Okay.

FHB:
The word is sodomy, right? It refers to particular acts of a particular nature, I’m not asking anyone to stir up their imagination, but the fact is we’re talking about unnatural acts. And unnatural because it’s not they’re unnatural because they’re creepy or because they offend Dr. Dobson’s country club friends.

CK:
Right.

FHB:
That’s not the reason why.

CK:
Because they don’t do [crosstalk 00:22:31] supposed to do.

FHB:
[crosstalk 00:22:33] icky, it’s because it’s so disordered that it can’t have its natural issue.

CK:
Yeah.

FHB:
Right?

CK:
Right.

FHB:
So it’s not unnatural like a horror film is unnatural. The ick part is not the reason why it’s wrong, because from that point of view as St. Thomas Aquinas says, “All sins are against nature because they go against reason, and reason is our nature.”

CK:
Yeah.

FHB:
So, but these are especially called unnatural, because as actions, they can’t attain the end for which this particular organ or function was made. That’s why.

CK:
Right.

FHB:
So it’s not some kind of… so, the teaching can’t change because the nature of sexual activity is such that the acts which are sexual nature have to be open to, that’s what we say now, but they have to be ordered towards the procreation of human life. And therefore any action of a sexual nature, which is not ordered to procreation, and that means any action which by its very nature could not possibly allow it or, yeah, basically, or where it’s being thwarted in some way, that those acts are sins, all right? They’re-

CK:
Well, if I follow that, then contraception is a sin.

FHB:
Yes, of course.

CK:
Oh, it is?

FHB:
Yes.

CK:
Okay.

FHB:
As George Bernard Shaw said, “Contraception is-”

CK:
A lot of people are shocked to hear that, Father. [crosstalk 00:00:24:02].

FHB:
As George Bernard Shaw was no friend of the church said, “It’s mutual masturbation.”

CK:
Yeah. Right. Because it cannot-

FHB:
And that’s why so many people nowadays, they don’t bother with contraception, it’s too expensive, they just do all these other things that will not lead to conception.

CK:
Oh, yeah.

FHB:
It’s very simple. And more, they like it better, right? So-

CK:
I trust you on that, you hearing the confessions-

FHB:
I’m not saying anything that I’ve heard in confession. The point is that is that the immorality of the action has to do with the nature of human sexuality, and it’s not based on identity, and this is the point, the New Testament did not use identity language to talk about sexual matters. So the word homosexual is an identity term which reduces sexual identity to personal inclination, and this is wrong, right?

CK:
No, it’s actions.

FHB:
It’s actions that matter.

CK:
It’s what you do with your body.

FHB:
That’s it, it doesn’t matter if you’ve had the desire to have relations with your own sex a million times, it’s not your identity as long as you recognize that the only way you could legitimately use your sexual faculty is by legitimate relations with your wife, your married wife. That’s the point. The church is not principally interested in establishing psychological or political identities along sexual lines, and that’s been the big mistake in all of this.

CK:
Yeah.

FHB:
Because it makes us come across as mean, because we’re not talking about what people can and cannot do with their feelings, we’re talking about what they can do with their actions.

CK:
Yeah.

FHB:
You feel like doing that, but you mustn’t because it’s wrong. And I think that’s the way people dealt with it before we invented these categories.

CK:
Yeah.

FHB:
All of these poets and musicians that everyone nowadays says were gay, who wrote sonnets, Shakespeare’s sonnets, two young men, and Michelangelos and all that. No, they had intense emotional relationships with members of their own sex, but in their own mind, it was unthinkable that, that should issue forth in a sexual-

CK:
Into action.

FHB:
… connection.

CK:
Yeah, right.

FHB:
And that’s very evident in the way they deal with it.

CK:
Right.

FHB:
And so, I think that the more ancient view actually allows more freedom for human effectivity, while is stricter about what is allowed physically and morally.

CK:
Yeah.

FHB:
And I think that, that’s where we need to go, and that’s what the church could offer people. But unfortunately a lot of people in the church are just offering a surrender on the-

CK:
Sure. Sure. Okay, so there’s a certain stability then in the moral law, in that we do have a nature and we have the reason to be able to reason out what our nature is, and we can then apply even the supernatural revelations to that understanding of nature. But, I guess there’s just a sense that people have of insecurity, everything is shifting. It just feels like everything is shifting. So would you address that sense of insecurity? That, well, what’s to say that the teaching on transubstantiation or the teaching even on incarnation or Trinity is invulnerable at some point?

FHB:
Well, of course, that impression is largely one created by the kind of intellectual and media culture that we have nowadays. So that’s part of the problem, is that theologians themselves, the dissident ones, or media personalities, they give this impression. And let’s face it, most people’s impressions about what the Catholic church teaches come from the media, even among Catholics.

CK:
Oh, that’s a good point. Yeah. Right.

FHB:
So if you ask somebody, you say, “Well, did you check that against the catechism of the Catholic church? Did you go and look and see, is that what the church really teaches? And that’s what you have to do, is continually encourage people to look at the real sources and not simply what the media might be saying about this or that. That’s what happened with this recent Amazon senate. I mean, they’re making these announcements about all this stuff that the Pope is going to change, and in the end it amounted to nothing.

CK:
Also, in some sense, you’re saying, “Temper your emotional reaction.” If it does all feel unstable to you, first thing to do is check the facts and-

FHB:
Find out what the church really teaches.

CK:
Yeah. Okay.

FHB:
And then realize that, that is not going to change.

CK:
Okay.

FHB:
It’s not. I tell you.

CK:
Okay.

FHB:
It’s not going to change. That is, the church will never approve of the ordination of women to Holy orders.

CK:
Who’s the guarantor?

FHB:
And not because the church hates women, because church loves men and women in their proper order in human society, but that’s not going to change.

CK:
Okay, so let’s say I, this is not true, what I’m about to say is not true, but let’s say I don’t trust Father Hugh, who’s the guarantor that this is not going to change. Who can I trust that this is not going to-?

FHB:
Well, then you follow the Magisterium in the church day-to-day and not the media, not the predictions, not the the experts in ecclesiastical news, of which there are many, on the internet.

CK:
Okay.

FHB:
Just trust that what our Lord has given as a deposit will be preserved. And if there’s something, a problem you can’t resolve, well then just peripherally accept the fact you can’t resolve it in your own mind, and eventually it will be, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

CK:
Yeah, he can resolve it in your… He can help you with it.

FHB:
But I mean, you’d be surprised by the unfolding of history if you’re worried about it.

CK:
Yeah. Yeah. But this is interesting [crosstalk 00:29:19].

FHB:
Look at the second Vatican council and the liturgy that issued from it. I mean, there was a time, and it was very recently, in the ’80s, recently for someone who’s 59, where it was inconceivable, people would’ve laughed at you if you said, “Oh, the next Pope, or maybe the next one is just going to make the traditional liturgy to the church completely legal and take all the limits off of it.”

CK:
Oh yeah.

FHB:
And we’ll be able to say the old breather, the old mass, the old ritual, everything, will all be allowed. People would have said, “No, you’re crazy.”

CK:
Not possible.

FHB:
“It’s going the other direction.”

CK:
Right.

FHB:
But it happened whether people liked it or not. Now that’s an issue of discipline, but very closely related to doctrine, because as Pope Benedict said, “How can that which was sacred for almost the entire history of the church suddenly become not only not in use, but forbid?”

CK:
Yeah.

FHB:
It’s ridiculous. So he just pointed it out and made the obvious critique and then allowed it. So, these kinds of things… and that has to do with the disciplinary aspect too, because there’s doctrine and there’s discipline. But the distinction shouldn’t be exaggerated too much because discipline is an expression of what we believe. And so people say, “Well, preaching celibacy, it’s only a discipline.” Well, yeah, that’s true, but is this one based on what? About what we understand about the nature of the priesthood, and the nature of Jesus Christ who is the first and great high priest. And so consequently, it has deep roots in what we believe, it’s not just simply, what Holy is obligation, there are, or something like that.

CK:
Yeah.

FHB:
Or which days we fast.

CK:
Yeah.

FHB:
It’s more profound than that, it’s related to incarnation and the sacraments. And so, we have to be very, very careful even when we are confronted with physicians, which seem to say that we can easily change an ancient discipline of the church. I would say, “Hold on.”

CK:
Yeah. Okay. And you mentioned the, just real briefly there, you mentioned that trusting that what the Lord has put in the deposit of faith, that it’s not going to change. Not that, “Oh, worry about this one, what the Lord has…” But that strikes me, that what you’re saying is that when you are panicked about the deposit of faith, that it’s the Lord himself that you need to go back to trusting in. That maybe that’s where the problem lies.

FHB:
Well yes, because there’s nothing about which one should panic less than the deposit of faith, which is, there’s nothing that’s more certain than solid than that.

CK:
Yeah.

FHB:
And the savior and our faith is founded, is on a rock.

CK:
Right.

FHB:
All right?

CK:
Yeah.

FHB:
And so the Protestants always had that hymn, “My faith is found and nothing less, but Jesus’ blood and righteousness. On Christ, the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.” It’s Christ who set this up.

CK:
Yeah.

FHB:
He’s the word of God that cannot fail.

CK:
Is that Protestant hymn?

FHB:
Yeah.

CK:
Maybe we can get some of these Protestant hymns in my church, because the Catholic hymns are really hurting these days.

FHB:
You can just tell me you that you’re welcome.

CK:
I know.

FHB:
All are welcome on this shifting ground.

CK:
Yeah.

FHB:
No-

CK:
Okay, so faith in the Lord, trust in the Lord, trust [crosstalk 00:32:32].

FHB:
Yeah. Right. “Believe in Him,” that’s what he says, and he’s not going mislead us. And Popes have come and gone, and they have maintained the rule of faith over centuries under tremendous political pressures from within, from without.

CK:
Yeah.

FHB:
As Pope Pius VI said to Napoleon, Napoleon was, Napoleon was a hot shot, of course. He’s holding the Pope prisoner in Fontainebleau, in the big palace there, which was the big palace before they built Versailles. And the Pope was brought up there to perform the marriage ceremony for Napoleon and the emperor’s Josephine. And, I have another great story to tell about that, but not too much in one day, and so the Pope has gone to bed and he’s lying in bed in his dressing gown. And of course this is, I mean, you remember the Pope was a real sovereign and they observed norms very, very carefully, but little Mr. Napoleon had been out hunting and he decided he wanted to talk to the Pope, well, hunting and drinking probably.

And so, he burst into his apartments from the outside through the french doors as it were, comes in still in, his hunting togs, not appropriately attired to meet the Pope. The Pope is laying up in bed with his dressing gown on, and so it’s quite a scene, and he leans on the mantle of the fireplace and starts berating the Pope about the church, and the church’s power, and what he was going to do and so on and so forth, and, “Why don’t you concede to me so we can open the churches again?” Well in fact he did make concession to him to… I mean, he did, but he’s going on and on and on and on and he said, “We can destroy the church if you don’t. We can destroy it.” And the Pope laughed at him. He laughed and he said, “Comédien,” comedian.

CK:
Oh yeah.

FHB:
The man is threatening the destruction of the entire Catholic church.

CK:
Yeah.

FHB:
And he’s shown that he has the power to do it it would appear, on human terms.

CK:
Yeah.

FHB:
He had taken over Europe for goodness sakes, crown and emperor of the French, has this enormous army, the first modern army that was by conscription and not by your social relation with the person for whom you were fighting, who had to take care of you and get you a horse and all that. It was all by conscription. The church opposed that at first, the draft, church thought it was immoral in the beginning, speaking of doctrines that change, because it was wrong to do that to someone that has a family, [crosstalk 00:35:03] overturn society. But anyway, so he says, “I can destroy the church, don’t you know I have that power?” And the Pope laughs and calls him a comedian. And then he said, “In 1800 years, we, the bishops of the church have not succeeded in destroying it, neither will you.” That’s a famous story.

CK:
Yeah.

FHB:
So, but it means [crosstalk 00:35:24].

CK:
… very sanguine confidence.

FHB:
Very. And that’s why our Lord chose the sanguine as the first Pope too. Saint Peter has a very sanguine temperament.

CK:
Oh, I had never thought about that, Saint Peter’s temperament.

FHB:
Yeah, you can always trust the sanguine, they’ll eventually hold on.

CK:
Yeah, they get a lot of them wrong, but eventually they’ll hold on.

FHB:
And happily, and forget completely that they ever had any other point of view.

CK:
Okay, so what should I then just teach my children? I mean, my children are grown now, they’ve already rejected everything I ever taught them, but they’ll come back. But the, what? Why do you laugh at me?

FHB:
I’m not laughing, it just sounds so sad [crosstalk 00:35:59].

CK:
Well, they’re much wiser than me right now.

FHB:
[crosstalk 00:36:04] rejected your love, that’s for sure.

CK:
No, I think they have not.

FHB:
Of course not.

CK:
Okay, but what should I teach my children then about the doctrines of the church that’s going to kind of…? I guess what I want is you to inoculate my children, give them, against all these winds that blow this way and that, “Look, here child, take this and live with this knowledge, and this is going to help you.”

FHB:
Well, it’s pretty simple, right? You just say, “Well, first of all, what are the prayers I taught you?”

CK:
Okay.

FHB:
“Say those every day.”

CK:
Okay. All right.

FHB:
“And the sacrament’s you received in the Holy church, be faithful to those and receive the ones that can be repeated frequently, confession, Holy communion.” All right?

CK:
Yeah.

FHB:
And then, “Know your faith, but know it from authentic sources.” So, read to the catechism. You should read the whole thing. If you’re an adult, you should have read the whole thing before you start spouting off your opinion about what the church teaches. Read it.

CK:
Right.

FHB:
You won’t necessarily agree with every single word that’s in there, but read it and you’ll find that you’ll find the authentic Catholic faith preserved over all these centuries and with-

CK:
Narratives.

FHB:
… with ample consideration. And those things, and of course that means the first thing I said implies a life of prayer, you have to be meditating on considering and growing in your love for the mysteries of the faith that you profess in order to persevere in it, so that’s a very key point. And I would just say just, prayers, sacraments, study the faith, you’ll be all right. As it says in Proverbs, “Train a young man when he’s in the way he should go when he’s young,” that is, “And when he’s old, he will not depart from it.” So it means he may wander when he’s younger, but he’ll come to-

CK:
Yeah. Right. In the middle, it doesn’t say anything about those middle years.

FHB:
“When he’s old, he will not depart from it.”

CK:
Father Hugh Barber, thank you.

FHB:
You’re welcome.

CK:
I’m so happy to see you looking so well and just chipper and-

FHB:
Pale and hearty.

CK:
Very good. Very good.

FHB:
Fit as a fiddle. Full of beans.

CK:
All right. Well, you know what, Father? May we have your blessing before we go?

FHB:
Okay. [Latin prayer 00:38:07] Amen.

CK:
Amen. Thank you so much to all of our listeners. If you wouldn’t mind giving us a like and a comment, where you get your podcasts, especially if you get your pod… well, almost everybody does over at the Apple podcasts. That would be very, very helpful to us. Also, let people know they can find out about us at catholicanswersfocus.com. Catholicanswersfocus.com. We will see you next time right here on Catholic Answers Focus.

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