"Even if Bergoglio is Christ's Vicar--a doubtful proposition at best, & a Christian is never morally justified in acting while in doubt--Bergoglio cannot replace the potestas claves with his own whims"
The following is from a Catholic Monitor reader:
Bishop Strickland has also recently stated that, although he will not resign, he will comply if Bergoglio removes him. Some people are applauding the Bishop of Tyler, Texas, for this; others, accusing him of moral cowardice. Both reactions are wide of the mark. Juxtaposing Bishop Strickland's proclamation of faith in the one true Church established by Jesus Christ with a willingness to obey man rather than God makes even moral cowardice too light a charge. Hypocrisy, in this case, would be the only tenable allegation.
If the Catholic Church really is the one true Church established by Jesus Christ--which is the case--then our obedience is owed ultimately to Our Lord and Savior; and to others, even the pope, only when in alignment with Him. Even if Bergoglio is Christ's Vicar--a doubtful proposition at best, and a Christian is never morally justified in acting while in doubt--Bergoglio cannot replace the potestas claves with his own whims, and we are not obeying Christ by knuckling under to such whims, either. If Bergoglio does try to remove Bishop Strickland and Bishop Strickland capitulates out of sheer human respect, not demanding any canonical or other justification for this travesty, then Bishop Strickland cannot actually believe that the Church was established by Jesus Christ at all. By his actions regardless of his words, Bishop Strickland will testify that the Church is of merely human origin instead.
Authority in the Church, after all, is not exercised the same way as authority in Auschwitz. Mindless functionalism is not a hallmark of sanctity; the martyrs became martyrs by standing for the good no matter what, not by being willing to betray it at the first sign of trouble. Bishop Strickland is behaving as though he believes the office he holds is his own, to do with as he pleases. He is acting, come to think of it,just like Bergoglio himself.
There was a priest one time--true story--who was mugged at gunpoint. The mugger demanded Father's money or his life. Father always said afterwards that, if the cash he was carrying had been his own, he would gladly have forked it over, but since it belonged to his religious community, he believed he had no right to part with it, come what may. It is instructive that Divine Providence protected Father despite his refusal of the mugger's demands on these grounds.
Bishop Strickland saying he will go quietly if necessary reminds me of the story of Father's mugging--only, disappointingly, the other way around. [https://www.thecatholicmonitor.com/2023/09/lifesite-news-bishop-strickland-christ.html?showComment=1695005762390#c7985151279574126047]