Sure Norms...

Torch of The Faith News on Monday 06 August 2018 - 14:04:32 | by admin

A Sure Norm': The hilarious Norman Wisdom is always sure to give you a laugh; no matter how many times I have seen them since my youth, his daft movie antics, like the lawn-mower sequence alongside the debonair Jerry Desmonde, still crease me up with laughter!

When the present edition of the Catechism of the Catholic Church was promulgated in 1992, the Apostolic Constitution Fidei Depositum declared it to be a ''sure norm'' for teaching Catholic doctrine. It was for this reason that this apostolate, and all the work we did several years ago in the realm of the formation of orthodox catechists, drew so heavily on the Catechism of the Catholic Church, in order to promote fidelity to the authentic teachings of the Church on faith and morals.

There is no doubt that Francis' sudden replacement of the existing paragraph CCC 2267, on the theme of the legitimacy of the death penalty, with a newly minted and liberal-friendly version - based as it is not on Magisterial teaching, but only the personal ideas he himself expressed in the Meeting for the Promotion of the New Evangelization in 2017 - represents a gaping wound to both the content and reputation of that Catechism as being a ''sure norm'' for the teaching of Catholic doctrine.
Lord Tebbit and Lady Thatcher: When I was a lad of 12, the sight of the wounded Norman Tebbit being carried out from the destruction of the 1984 Brighton Bomb, and learning that this had permanently disabled his wife, forever changed my opinion of the man who had been mercilessly portrayed by Spitting Image as a fascistic and violent Bovver Boy. Although he saw the funny side of the satire against him, Tebbit was in fact a thoughtful family man with an interesting past as a pilot in both the RAF and BOAC. In 1987, he stepped down from politics to care for his injured wife. That fact alone must make him a ''Sure Norm''!

In my first article on this matter on Friday, I acknowledged that the existing 1992 paragraph CCC 2267, whilst remaining well within the boundaries of traditional Catholic teaching, did not itself fully express those teachings in its brief format. Traditionalist readers would no doubt cite various other examples from the 1992 Catechism where this is similarly the case. Nevertheless, the existing CCC 2267, though not fully expressing the traditional teaching, certainly remained in accord with it.

As I also noted on Friday, the radical update of Francis, on the other hand, represents a rupture that is as sudden as it is dramatic.

I did concede in that piece, that it was possible, but only by a contorted reading of what may be implicit, rather than explicit, in the new Francis-version of CCC 2267, to read it as being just short of a formal heresy.

I was thus interested to read Joseph Shaw's conclusions on the possible ambiguity in Francis' new version, in an article he posted up yesterday at the blog of the LMS Chairman.

Mr. Shaw notes: ''This is no accidental ambiguity: it is a design feature. In this case the mouse-hole of ambiguity Conservative Catholics need to crawl through to maintain the continuity through the two editions of the Catechism is humiliatingly small. When they have crawled through it, moreover, they will be ignored.''

Due to the committments we now have, we have not been in a position to give any catechetical presentations, nor to assist with any formation of catechists during the last four years. However, had we been able, I would no longer find myself able in good conscience to recommend to them the newly updated Francis-version of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, in its newly mauled form, as the ''sure norm'' that I once took genuine joy in doing.

I feel that I owe this honest conclusion to all of the sincere catechists and catechumens whose catechetical sessions and lectures I used to lead, and whose carefully crafted essays and workshops I used to mark.  
Stormin' Norman Schwarzkopf: Watching his flip-chart debriefings on the BBC, during the first Gulf War became something of an institution for my buddies and I, as a group of young 18 year old lads in 1990-91. To us back then, he sure seemed like a Norm who was going to get the military job done speedily enough to save us young blades from having our lives interrupted by being called up!

The reasons I would no longer find myself able to recommend the Francis-Catechism are both theological and philosophical.

At the theological level, the new CCC 2267 looks objectively, in its actual wording, to be a direct breach with the traditional teaching of the Catholic Church on the death penalty. Only with a gymnastic level of contorted reading, drawing on the potentially implicit meanings which, due to the inclusion of the word ''consequently'', I pointed out here on Friday, can it be said to be even possible to read this in light of Tradition.

At the philosophical level, I could not recommend the new Francis-Catechism because it can no longer be described as being either ''sure'' or a ''norm''.

It is not ''sure'', because it fails to impart a clear and unproblematic restatement of Catholic moral teaching in this area.

Again, it is not ''sure'', if Francis can simply change any of its key doctrinal teachings, on any day of the week, with a mere rubber-stamped approval from his own CDF-appointed ''Yes-Man'' Cardinal Ladaria.

It is not a ''norm'', because it is not and cannot be normative; in light of the fact that it is not an expression of the teaching that has been held everywhere and always in the Church.

Also this updated paragraph fails to account for the period of discernment and articulation, which was carried out so carefully among all the bishops of the world, when the 1992 Catechism was being developed. Instead of his oft-touted ''synodal Church'', this intervention merely represents a direct, unilateral expression of Francis' self-assertion over, and even against, the Faith and the faithful. Just at the natural level, how can this be in any way a ''norm'' if it only represents a personal view expressed by Francis in a low-key meeting, not even one year ago?  
The fictional Norm Peterson in the US TV-comedy Cheers! The sudden appearance of Norm calling out ''Afternoon everybody!'' was as dependable as the laughs and the hilarious one-liners in that long-running sit-com. ''Good Afternoon, Norm'' and ''Hello, Mr. Peterson!''

At the risk of stating the obvious, the Apostolic Constitution asserting the trustworthiness of the Catechism of the Catholic Church as a ''sure norm'' for teaching Catholic doctrine, related to its original pristine form; not to this newly amended text dating to just last week.

What then would I recommend?

Although we have have not been giving any presentations, of any kind in the last four or five years, we do suggest to people with whom we come into contact to obtain and prayerfully read through a copy of the traditional Catechism of the Council of Trent.

I promise you that investing money, time and prayer in the Catechism of the Council of Trent will help and equip you and your family, especially if you study it a paragraph at a time with them each evening, to Keep the Faith, and to test everything disturbing that you see and hear happening these days, in light of Sacred Scripture, Tradition and Magisterium. 

The 1992 edition of the Catechism of the Catholic Church has now been mauled by Francis and his novelties. Only time will tell if this latest travesty will lead to further invasions of the Catechism. In light of that fact, and our own deepened understanding of Sacred Tradition, we recommend readers to purchase, study and pray through a copy of the Catechism of the Council of Trent. Copies can be obtained from good publishers like Baronius Press Classics.

As a good Catholic priest said to us a few years ago: As a Catholic, you can never be too Traditional.
Dear Readers: May Christ be your light throughout this present time of testing.

Our Lady of Victories - Pray for us!

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