Gary Wills Redux
I know that I am coming in late on this, but I normally don't like to comment much on controversy--I find it makes me exceedingly irritable and not particularly charitable. However, I happened on this article over at Emily Stimpson's blog and was so profoundly annoyed by some of Mr. Wills's comments that I needed to note at least one glaring stupidity. This quote, ". . . and it's also obvious that loyalty to the papacy has been made the test of what makes you a Catholic," must stand as the archicon of idiocy. Whether or not Mr. Wills cares for the point, loyalty to the Pope and to his teachings is, in fact, part of what distinguishes Catholics from every other faith. I will grant that it is not the entirety of the difference; however, if you have the entire doctrine of the Catholic Church without loyalty to the Pope, you are either Anglican of some variety or some other faith--you simply are not Catholic. The Catholic Church, founded by Jesus Christ upon the Rock (St. Peter) is defined by having a single head who speaks with authority for the whole body. Remove the head, and you don't have a church; you have a headless body. Now, how Wills, a purportedly intelligent man, can come up with such a profound piece of religious blinkered thinking, I don't care to speculate. But I do say, that without loyalty to Rome and to the Pope, you cannot be Catholic.
I will go further to say that surely in the course of your investigations, you may come upon things that don't fit right, that you have doubts about. I think doubts offer an opportunity for growth, if approached properly. Where there is doubt, it is best to approach with the idea of finding the truth, not supporting an agenda. Mr. Wills seems to have cast this aside. As with many supposedly informed and intelligent modernists, he has be blindsided by the world and secular society into believing that his vision of the Church is indeed the church. If you stop to consider (after you get over the aggravation) this is sad situation, one requiring more prayer than fury. People who belong to this distorted church miss the fullness of the faith. They have mixed their faith with water--or unfortunately as with Israel entering the land of Canaan, they have sullied their practice with the idols of the Land of Milk and Honey. They do enormous damage to themselves and to those around them without realizing what they wreak.
I trust God in His providential wisdom and great mercy will deal kindly with those who have so wandered. Jesus promised to leave the 99 and go off in search of the single strayed sheep. For those who have strayed, like Mr. Wills and others, I pray merely that he is one brought back into the fold by the great caring of Incarnate Love. I also pray for myself and others incidentally affected by Mr. Wills that our momentary irritation and annoyance does not stray off into judgment. I'm sure that it shall not, but my assurance comes (paradoxically) from my confidence in prayers being answered.