In order to have order in our souls, our lives, our families, our church and in our world we need to obey God’s authority. Through reading the Bible, we have the handbook, or directions, to live holy, fulfilling and peaceful lives. It is the opposite of the “drama” full lives that are all around us everyday. “Drama” is the fruit of those who will not submit to God’s authority.
Most of these quotes from the Bible that we are going to study in the next series are foreign to us in our “progressive society”. Especially when it comes to obedience of God and those in authority. The word “authority” comes from “author”, like who wrote the book, or who made us. God is our “author” and He knows what is good for us. In the end we will not answer to feminist, or to progressives, or to teachers, or to movie stars, or to the TV, or to politicians, or to church leaders. When we die, and we never know when, we will only answer to God. God is not progressive or mutable. God is unchanging. So we look to the Holy Bible to know who God is and what He expects. Thank God we do have this handbook to turn to and get answers.
The Catholic Church also teaches us what it means to be obedient to authority. For the first 1930 years it was quite clear. Since the Vatican II council it has become confusing. The devil hates obedience to God since he was the first to be rebellious with God.
Now we also need to clarify what obedience to authority means. And again there has been and will always be abuse of authority in families, governments, schools, the military and the Church. We also can see this abuse of authority continuously in the Bible when it comes to some of the kings and religious leaders of Israel. And it still goes on in the some parts of the Catholic Church today.
King Saul uses his authority as king to try to kill David. King David, God’s anointed one, abused his authority to have Urias killed (so he could have his wife Bathsheba) by putting him in the front of the battle by Joab. In the book of Daniel 13 we have the great story of Susanna being accused by the wicked elders who used their authority to seduce young women and if they resisted to be stoned to death.
King Herod abused his authority to slaughter the innocent babies when trying to kill the “new born King of Israel”. King Herod abused his authority when he had John the Baptist’s head cut off. The Jewish church officials abused their authority to condemn Jesus and have him crucified. That included the high priest, the Sanhedrin, the Law givers, the Scribes and the Pharisees. Jesus keeps referring to the abuse of authority by the Jewish religious leaders in his parables about the King who leaves them in charge of His vineyard. “And last of all he sent to them his son, saying : They will reverence my son. But the husbandmen seeing the son, said among themselves: This is the heir: come, let us kill him, and we shall have his inheritance”. Matthew 21: 37-38.
I speak of all of this to show that, even though the Bible teaches obeying authority, it also tells us that many time those in authority will abuse it. In this case we are not obliged to obey it.
An example of this is when someone is in a religious order is told under obedience to sin, the religious is obliged by God to not obey. We can never be obedient to that which is sinful and contrary to God’s laws. Just because under the authority of the government it is legal to kill unborn babies in the womb does not mean it is allowed to be done by any follower of Jesus.
But still this does not make void the necessity to obey legitimate holy authority. God has created the Church, the Government and the family to be hierarchical. Holy authority in charge of the Church, Government and family is sane. Unholy authority or the lack of holy hierarchy causes chaos and disunity.
So as traditional Catholics we believe in obeying holy hierarchy and authority. Before Vatican II’s concept of collegiality, there was a true hierarchy from the pope on down to the layman. Collegiality means that the pope is seen as only the bishop of Rome among other bishops. He has a unique role as pope, but still at the same time all bishops now have become almost equal in how they govern their own diocese. Pope Francis reminded the people of Rome about this upon his election, emphasizing more that he is their bishop than that he is their pope.
I believe this is why Pope Benedict incorrectly abdicated the papacy. Since he was special amongst equals, he did not have the support of those under him. And being old and weak, he could not depend on or trust those under him to help him in his unique role as pope. We need the old men and women, who have wisdom, to have authority. Younger people in the Holy Hierarchy are there to support older leaders who have wisdom and hopefully holiness. Like a beehive, we all work together for the good of Holy Mother the Church. We need holy order. We are so fortunate to be traditional Catholics and have the wisdom of God given to us on how to be holy leaders and holy followers and have the result of Holy order.
The original author of this blog passed away in July of 2016. RIP Father Carota.