Friday, December 19, 2014

"I too know what it is to obey authority"

Edmund was a cradle Catholic and Jesuit-educated to boot. He was inured to ecclesiastical discipline. He was like the centurion in Matthew VIII: "I too know what it is to obey authority; I have soldiers under me, and I say, 'go,' to one man, and he goes, or, 'come,' to another,and he comes." That was all very well so long as the officers themselves did not question the system. But that was precisely what the bishops were doing during the third session from September 15th to November 21st. The haggling over their own collegiality, over the sources of revelation, over the nature of the Church, was upon analysis no more than questioning authority: that of the Church, of the Pope, of divine revelation. If the centurion did not obey, there was no reason why the soldier should. Like any other chain, the chain of command is no stronger than its weakest link.
— Bryan Houghton, Judith's Marriage, 1987, p. 151.