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March 2007

Many do not realize that a very large portion of the decrees of the Council of Trent were “Decrees Concerning Reform” - mainly reform of the priesthood, episcopacy, and religious orders.

The Responsibility of Popes in Regard to Bishops

JAMES LARSON

The world (including the vast majority of Catholics) has come to accept the notion that the primary duty of the Pope is to be "positive" and not "prohibitive"; and that he shouldn’t, and simply cannot, discipline and dismiss dissident bishops. The following quotes, to the contrary, are from the disciplinary decrees of the Council of Trent:

"The same holy council, the same legates of the Apostolic See presiding, wishing to restore a very much collapsed ecclesiastical discipline and to reform the depraved morals of the clergy and the Christian people, has deemed it proper to begin with those who preside over the major churches [bishops], for unblemished character in those who govern is the salvation of those governed." (Decree Concerning Reform, Session VI, Chapter I)

"Finally, the same holy council, moved by so many very grave afflictions of the Church, cannot but call to mind that nothing is more necessary to the Church of God than that the holy Roman pontiff apply that solicitude which by the duty of his office he owes the universal Church in a very special way by associating with himself as cardinals the most select persons only, and appoint to each church most eminently upright and competent shepherds [bishops], and this the more so, because our Lord Jesus Christ will require at his hand the blood of the sheep of Christ that perish through the evil government of shepherds who are negligent and forgetful of their office." (Decree Concerning Reform, Session XXIV, chapter I)

When one considers that the various Vatican Dicasteries must possess cabinets stuffed with files detailing the "evil government" of such prelates as Cardinals Law, Bernardin and Mahony, and Bishops Clark, Weakland and Hunthausen in the US, and Cardinals Hume, Murphy O’Connor and O’Brien and Bishops Hollis, Conry, McMahon, Konstant and Nichols in the UK (to name just a few Americans and Brits – there are certainly very many more in both countries and elsewhere); and when one also considers that (aside from a few cases concerning very visible sexual predators) the Curial Heads and recent Popes have simply just sat upon this abundant documentation; and finally, when it is abundantly evident that such inaction has resulted in the spiritual death of millions of falsely taught and scandalized children and adults, then the sheer volume of the blood of the "sheep" which have perished must indeed cry loudly for an accounting, and the responsibility of these Popes would certainly seem immense.

In light of: 1) the above-quoted decrees; 2) the evidence which certainly must exist regarding the state of the episcopacy over the past several decades and the ensuing level of dissent and decay which has become commonplace in all areas of Catholic teaching, worship, and morality as a result of their governance; and, 3) the inaction of the Popes responsible for the approval and maintenance of these men in their positions of authority - may I respectfully express my astonishment at the fact that the cause for canonization of Pope John Paul II (or any post-conciliar Pope) is being seriously promoted.

 

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