Some Thoughts on the Professio


Some Thoughts on the Professio Making the Rounds

At one time I considered doing this, and after considering some well-reasoned statements pointing out why that might not be the better thing to do, I decided otherwise. I have enormous respect for those who publish this, and my heart is with them, but I think I will stand by my previous decision for a while until I have considered all manner of things that whirl about in my head and God ultimate convicts me that this is the right and proper course of action.

However, that aside, I wanted to share a reflection that many will probably consider ill-advised.

I also firmly accept and hold each and every thing that is proposed by that same church definitively with regard to teaching concerning faith or morals.

What is more, I adhere with religious submission of will and intellect to the teachings which either the Roman pontiff or the college of bishops enunciate when they exercise the authentic magisterium even if they proclaim those teachings in an act that is not definitive.

This is part of said professio. And I wished to add my own clarification of terminology. Not only to I adhere with religious submission of will and intellect to teachings, I am also willing to lend my consent to many merely prudential judgment made in matters that I have neither time nor wherewithal to consider. When a body, such as the Bishops, in solemn assembly declare something, whether definitive teaching or no, such declaration demands my utmost respect, and I believe, if I am not willing to go through the rigorous analysis of all of the data to determine the actuality myself, my consent until such time as I do so. In other words, I may not merely gainsay the body of bishops on my own say-so. Now if a single priest or Bishop should make a pronouncement on an issue, while I still owe respect to the opinion, I do not regard it with the same deference as any pronouncement made by an assembled body.

No, I do not worship the hierarchy, but I do tend to trust the thought of many focused on a single issue more than I trust my own instincts and feelings that too often have led me astray.

Another point I wish to make is more a question. If I question interiorly whether what is taught is true or not, but give no voice to it outwardly, and when asked to reflect upon the issue from a Catholic Point of View, I say simply what the Catholic Church teaches, am I giving true consent of the will, if perhaps not of the intellect? There are points of Church teaching with which I struggle on a nearly daily basis. I trust the Church, and I pray God for the struggle to end. Nevertheless, some matters are less than settled in my perfervid brain. Am I in less than complete submission, or does my silence on the matter and the interior struggle mean that I have chosen to act and behave as though I believe even though I am uncertain? Let's take a ludicrous example--Let's say that for some reason I struggled mightily over the question of whether the Blessed Virgin was really the Immaculate Conception. But let us say that I observed the Feast Day, I taught my children and all who would listen only what the Church says and I pray for conversion to what the Church teaches. Am I acting in conformity of will and intellect or is the intellect in rebellion? And if it is in rebellion, if the intellect is not in submission, when does submission come? Must everything be absolutely settled with no recurring questions?

I guess you can see why I don't really feel capable of posting something so definitive. I state once again what I have said a great many times. The Holy Catholic Church is the universal teacher of God's will and plan for salvation. All that she teaches I hold to be true to the extent that I can, practicing it and teaching it faithfully. I refuse to be lured into dissent, having walked that path before and I struggle mightily to bring into submission those stray thoughts and notions that occasionally may arise and bring forth doubt and question. But somehow I feel I fall short of the perfect submission professed by some, and that disturbs me greatly. (The word "professed" is used not to convey doubt to indicate the intent of the person who has posted or spoke the words--I do not doubt their good will and their adherence to what they have said. It's a shame lawyerese has drained some words of their right and proper meaning so that now saying someone "professes something" is indicative of doubt about their veracity. I have not such doubts.) I have no doubt that in God's good time He will show me the truth of all of these teachings, but until then, I fear I am a terribly conflicted, but terribly hopeful soul. I do not believe however, that a company so professing can accept me as a member, and I find that regrettable (for me). I grapple with these issues and am lost before them. Fortunately, I am a subject of the Good Shepherd who will come and look for those who are lost.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on December 18, 2002 7:40 PM.

My Apologies to Mr. Rothwell was the previous entry in this blog.

Some Observations on An Insight is the next entry in this blog.

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