Last, but not least, Kelly Wilson has produced an argument–sure to live forever in the annals of sophistry–for why Catholics who reject Church teaching aren’t really rejecting Church teaching. Wilson is upset that conservative Catholics would like the modernist heretics to just apostasize and stop trying to undermine the Church from within. It is we, she says, who are unfaithful to the Magisterium for saying the Magisterium must be obeyed! I was eager to see how Wilson would defend this counterintuitive claim, and she doesn’t disappoint. Catholic teaching comes in three levels, she says: 1) what comes straight out of revelation (the Bible), 2) what follows through logical necessity from revelation, 3) other pronouncements. The trick for beginning modernists is to push all the stuff that offends against modern androgynist utilitarianism into the third category, and then say that the third category are teachings we must “respect” but not necessarily believe–like how I guess we’re not supposed to make fun of the tradition that Saint George killed a dragon, but we don’t have to actually believe it. But here we hit a snag: the pope himself said that an all-male priesthood (that horror of the modernists) belongs to category 2. “Ah”, says Wilson, “but he never said that the proclamation that all male priests belongs to category 2 is itself a category 2 statement.” Now, in ordinary communication, it is always assumed that “X” and “X is true” are asserted with the same certainty, but if they aren’t all sorts of possibilities open. If the pope decides to plug this hole, saying “The declaration ‘X belongs to category 2’ is itself category 2”, well, would that statement itself be category 2? At a stroke, the Magisterium can’t declare anything!
Following a similar line of argument, Wilson denies that the Magisterium, in its emphatic insistence in Casti Connubii and Humanae Vitae that contraception is utterly incompatible with Christian morality, ever positively asserted that this teaching must be accepted. One wonders what in the world they were talking about, then. Wilson’s guide here is the traitorous Winnipeg Statement of the Canadian Catholic bishops, which at least seems to claim that, if a couple is unconvinced by Humanae Vitae, well then, it’s A-OK for them to go on desecrating the conjugal bed. I’m not sure why the Winnipeg statement is supposed to trump both the pope and all world’s other bishops, who insist that this teaching is an absolute requirement of the natural law.
So, let me endorse the comments by Bruce Burgess and others that Wilson finds so obnoxious. People who choose Leftist over Catholic orthodoxy should leave. The entire rest of the world belongs to them and their devilish creed. There are scores of liberal Protestant denominations that already embrace the watered-down Christianity they want Catholicism to embrace. The heretics can take their pick. If they really believe in religious tolerance, they should stop trying to force the poor, pitiful remnant of the once splendid Roman Catholic Church to go along with them.