By Eric Wagner
Special guest blogger
Exercise 1: “Become a pious Roman Catholic. Explain in three pages why the Church is still infallible and holy despite Popes like Alexander VI (the Borgia Pope), Pius XII (ally of Hitler), etc.”
Brothers and sisters in Christ, thank you for spending this time with me to contemplate the role of Church in God’s plan. First of all, the Church is not infallible nor has it claimed to be infallible. However, we do believe the Pope is infallible in matters of faith and morals when speaking ex cathedra. Please note that this belief was not canon law at the time of Alexander VI. Also, please note that the Venerable Pope Pius XII was not certainly not Hitler’s ally. He did all he could to protect many Jews. He had very little power at the time of the Fascist take-over of Italy, and he did all he could to protect Jews from the Nazis.
Putting all that aside, God sent his only Son to give each and every one of us the opportunity for life everlasting. This is the real life extension Doctor’s Leary and Wilson searched in vain for. God established the Church to guide us to everlasting life. The Church exists by the will of God. All humans except for Jesus and Mary commit sins. Pope are included in this. They may be imperfect, but that is part of God’s miraculous plan.
In Faust Goethe has Satan say, "I am part of that power which eternally wills evil and eternally works good.” In a small way we each play a role in God’s miraculous plan, despite all we squander of our divine entitlements. In general, the popes have been good men, often great men, who shoulder a tremendous burden. Each priest, in fact, shoulders a tremendous burden, helping to guide the members of their flock in the right direction, dealing with all the privations of life and the hostility of so many people, especially in our modern, all too secular, world.
The Church is certainly holy. Oxford Languages defines holy as “dedicated or consecrated to God or a religious purpose; sacred.” The Church is certainly “dedicated or consecrated to God”. It always has been, and it always will be. (I find myself slipping out of E-Prime, but some things are just self-evident. I can only feel sorry for Dr. Wilson. He was a very good man, but, alas, he was led away from the one true Church by evil companions, I fear. Perhaps the weak wording of this exercise reveals a part of him trying to remind him of the one true Church. The sisters tried so hard to teach him about the role of the Church in history, but his human hubris led him to value his own opinions over those of the Church. He preferred to think for himself, alas, and to always question authority. Perhaps he would have had a happier life if he had just trusted God.)