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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Comiskey

Faithful Sons and Daughters of the Church

Marco Casanova and Andrew Comiskey Is it “disloyal” or “schismatic” to respectfully disagree with the pope? We’ve been wrestling with this question since the release of Fiducia Supplicans (FS). What could’ve been a merciful invitation to accompany sexual sinners into chastity became confusion for us.

How do we work out our conflict with its papal author? Nothing matters more to us than unwavering fidelity to Jesus and Church. Can we be faithful to the Church while disagreeing with its leader?


We’ve received kickback from orthodox friends. They dislike our public disagreement with FS. Of course, we can always express ourselves better. But even owning ‘tonal’ problems doesn’t appease those who view logical dissatisfaction with FS as something like gossipy dishonor of a near-perfect father.


We contend that such ‘papal positivity’ may be more the problem than honest disagreement with the pope. Here we draw upon the ‘sense of the faithful’, the conscientious convictions of members of Christ. We at once hold the tension of respecting the papacy and the truth we carry as faithful members of Jesus and Church.


The Faith of Christ as handed down by the Apostles is sustained through the centuries by a believing people. This body of believers is the Church. Each of the baptized, ordained and lay, play distinguished roles in “handing on” the faith of the Church. Jesus consecrates some of us to tend “domestic” churches while others govern with priestly authority. All of us have an important role to play. When something is “off,” the faithful must trust the truth of that unchanging faith and seek to preserve its clarity.


The Catechism says, “The whole body of the faithful…cannot err in matters of belief. This characteristic is shown in the supernatural appreciation of faith (sensus fidei or ‘sense of the faithful’) on the part of the whole people, when, ‘from the bishops to the last of the faithful,’ they manifest a universal consent in matters of faith and morals” (CCC 92).


Disagreement is not revolt. All reactions should be tempered by charity. This includes a duty of earnest intercession for the pope. No matter our circle of influence—be it a household, a parish, a diocese, or the global Church—each has a piece of the Kingdom to govern and safeguard in the truth.


Cardinal Mueller recently wrote, “The Catholic Church is not the Pope’s Church and Catholics are therefore not papists but Christians. Christ is the head of the Church and from Him all divine grace and truth passes to the members of His body, which is the Church.”


Disagreement need not mean disloyalty. Foregoing ‘papal positivity’, we can love the pope while mirroring back his confusion. Needless complaining isn’t the answer. Our activation lies in appealing to the truth that’s been handed down to us, and the very personal ways that we’ve probed and lived that truth. This is how we remain faithful amid confusion.


Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI) wrote of papal authority, “The Successor of Peter is the rock which guarantees a rigorous fidelity to the Word of God against arbitrariness and conformism.”


We need clear teaching from Peter the rock. FS leaves unnecessary room for confusion. That document draws from confusing LGBTQ+ ministers who surround the pope, including Father James Martin, activist Juan Carlos Cruz, and Sr. Jeannine Gramick (New Ways Ministries). These voices neglect Jesus’ clear call to repent from sexual sin to new life. FS supports this quietly.


Faithful sons and daughters, find your voice, bless the pope, and pray that he might repent of confusing blessings.

Join Andrew on Desert Streaming each week as he dives deeper into his blog. Watch here or listen on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.


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