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@FeserEdward..some wonder why I pay a moment’s attention to lightweights like Annett, Lewis, et al..because..they are the best the “progressive” “Catholic” side has to offer..latest illustration...

I’m aware that some wonder why I pay a moment’s attention to lightweights like Annett, Lewis, et al. The reason is precisely because they are lightweights – because it is important for all to see that they are the best the “progressive” “Catholic” side has to offer. The latest illustration of how breathtakingly unserious these people are is this remarkable exchange with today, which I’ve screencapped. In a pair of tweets, I had cited several passages from Pope John Paul II, the Catechism, the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, and Pope Francis himself, acknowledging that it is legitimate for governments to restrict immigration, and to do so for the purpose of preserving the culture and economic stability of the receiving nation. Annett’s response is, apparently, peremptorily to dismiss all of this as incompatible with Pope Francis’s Fratelli Tutti (though he never explains exactly how they are incompatible). When I ask him to confirm whether this is indeed his view, he responds that “doctrine develops” and that if I have a problem with his assertions, then I must be a Lefebvrist. When I point out in response that his position entails that not only the magisterium in general, but Pope Francis in particular, have contradicted themselves within the space of just a few years, his only reply is to fling the “Lefebvrist” accusation once again. To any reader who is neither ignorant nor blinded by ideology, I probably don’t need to point out all the problems with this. But here they are anyway. First, and again, Annett never explains how the earlier statements I cited conflict with Fratelli Tutti. He just asserts that they do. Second, he refuses even to entertain the possibility that he should accept those earlier statements and read Fratelli Tutti in light of them, rather than dismissing them out of hand. Certainly he offers no justification for refusing to do so. Third, he ignores the consideration that a true “development” of doctrine never contradicts earlier doctrine, but merely draws out implications of earlier doctrine in a way that is consistent with it. This is the teaching of St. Vincent of Lerins, of Newman, of Benedict XVI, of Vatican I, etc. etc. Fourth, even if there really were a contradiction between Fratelli Tutti and the earlier statements, he does not explain why this should cast doubt on the earlier statements rather than on Fratelli Tutti. Or how we can trust anything the magisterium says if it really has contradicted itself. Fifth, his position commits him to dismiss the teaching of the Catechism, even though the Church has never said that that teaching is obsolete. Yet he frequently labels others “dissenters” for merely objecting to the wording of the recent change to the Catechism vis-à-vis the death penalty. Annett does not explain how he can justify this double standard. Sixth, Annett never tells us how he would deal with all the obvious problems his apparent position entails. Should borders be abolished entirely? Should all immigrants be taken in, no matter how many? If not, exactly what is the upper limit, and under what conditions can immigration be halted? If so, then how is it practically even possible to take in absolutely all who want to enter, given economic limitations, security concerns, cultural cohesion, etc.? The statements I quoted from John Paul II, Francis, the Catechism, and the Compendium acknowledge these as serious issues. Exactly how do these problems disappear simply by uttering “Fratelli Tutti”? (Are those magic words or something?) Naturally, in a sane world this would all too blindingly obvious to have to be said, and a crank like Annett could be ignored entirely. But this is where we are with the “progressive” “Catholic” “intelligentsia” in 2023.


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