Some of the pages
have startled many people, specially Roman Catholic brothers and
sisters, about my questioning of some of the doctrines of the
institution of the Catholic Church. However, I want too point out
that if you look at my arguments carefully, my decision to differ on
certain issues is not made at random, but none with a concise reasoning
that leads me to believe that in these subjects the Church is wrong.
I cannot endorse something that my (informed)
conscience tells me is wrong and that such actions are unsupported and
unjustified. I remember my Catholic friends the most ancient
Catholic traditions that is to obey conscience. If a Christian or
a theologian is all of the sudden confronted with a conscience dilemma
it is best to follow conscience. The true Catholic and the true
Christian follows an instructed conscience, even if he or she is
threatened with excommunion. We have to remember what St. Paul
said: "[. . .] for whatever that is not from the conscience of
faith, it is sin" (Romans 14,23).
We have also to remember the words of Pope Innocent
III, perhaps one of the most tyrannical popes in history; he
said: "Anything that doesn't come from faith, is sin, and
everything done against conscience leads to hell [. . .] because nobody
can obey in that a judge against God, but has to carry the burden of
excommunion in humility" (Corpus
11,287; cf. 11,908).
Sebastián Merkle, a Church historian,
states: "According to this, St. Thomas Aquinas, the great teacher
of the order of preachers, and with him a series of scholars, would
have taught that an excommunicated person because of wrong suppositions
has to die in excommunion before obeying a superior law that, according
to his understanding, does not correspond to reality. To obey
would go against truth, which is something that must not be betrayed,
even if it is to not produce a scandal" (Merkle 472 ff
., Thomas Aquinas In IV Sent. dist. 38, expos. textus in fine
In fact, he stated clearly: "Now sometimes the things commanded
by a superior are against God, therefore superiors are not to be obeyed
in all things" (Summa Theologica
II. q.2 a.4).
Cardinal Belarmino, who exhalts the papacy during
the period of the counter-reform, says the following: it is
permissible for a Christian that if the Pope attacks you physically to
resist against him, it is permissible also to resist him when he
attacks spiritually, if he sows confusion in the State, and, most of
all, if he tries to destroy the Church; it would be a passive
resistance, not carrying out his orders, and stop him from carrying out
his will. He states explicitly: "When the Supreme Pontiff
pronounces a sentence of excommunication which is unjust or null, it
must not be accepted, without, however, straying from the respect due
to the Holy See" (Belarmino lib. II, cap. 29, I, 607).
St. Thomas Aquinas also stated:
Where there is a proximate danger to
the faith, prelates must be rebuked, even publicly, by subjects.
Thus, St. Paul who was subject to St. Peter, rebuked him publicly (Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians
Pope Leo XIII stated:
And there is no reason why those who
obey God rather than men should be accused of refusing obedience; for
if the will of rulers is opposed to the will and the laws of God, these
rulers exceed the bounds of their own power and pevert justice, nor can
their authority then be valid, which, when there is no justice, is null
What I do and say, I do and say because of
conscience, and I follow it, also having my sight on Jesus Christ all
the time and my faith. Without wanting to sound arrogant, I can
say that following conscience, which has been upheld by Church's
Magisterium, makes me perhaps more Catholic than many other people that
despite their own conscience, and in the name of self-righteousness,
with a "holier than thou" attitude, follow blindly what they are told
without even considering thinking about what they are ordered to do or
believe. Those will be the people whom Jesus was talking about in
Many will say to me on that day:
"Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name? Did we not drive
out demons in your name? Did we not do mighty deeds in your
name?" Then I will declare to them solemly, "I never knew you.
Depart from me, you evildoers" (Matt. 7,22-23).
I applaud people who disagree with me and obey the Church because of
conscience, because they do it out of faith and humility. But I
don't praise people who obey the Church because of pride and arrogance
only to show themselves as being "right" because they follow the
Church, and condemn anybody who doesn't think the same as they do.
I hope this clear up why do I differ from the Church
concerning some issues and still consider myself a Catholic . . .
even if I'm excommunicated in the future.
God bless you and everyone who visits my
Berlamino, R. De summo pontifice
Ingolstadt, 1586-1593. Paris, 1870.
Corpus Iuris Canonici
, ed. AE.
Friedberg (Lipsiae 1881).
Merkle, S. Der Streit um
, in "Hochland" 25 (1928).
© 2002-2003, Pedro Rosario
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