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the Rev. Victor Balke, Moorhead, Published December 01 2012

Letter: Forum’s lack of awareness is troubling

In regard to The Forum’s editorial on Sunday, Nov. 25, “Fractures not new to church:”

Since I don’t know the facts about the situation in the parish in Barnesville, Minn., I am not addressing that specific case. (I wonder if The Forum knows all the facts.)

I want to speak to something more fundamental: namely, The Forum’s apparent lack of awareness about the nature of the teaching responsibilities of the Catholic Church and the Catholic hierarchy.

You seem to think that the bishops in union with the pope are the ultimate authority in the Catholic Church. This is simply not true. The ultimate authority in the church, an authority to which the church and the hierarchy are themselves subject, is the Word of God, especially as that Word is revealed to us in the teachings of Christ, the Son of God. (I found it interesting that The Forum’s editorial made no mention at all of sacred Scripture.)

The Forum apparently thinks that the church should ignore the teachings of Christ and, instead, “bow to public opinion,” as if public opinion is the guarantor of truth, and of what’s objectively right and wrong. You apparently think that the Gospel of Christ is a relic of the past, and that it must now give way to what society proclaims as acceptable, no matter what this may be. Or, at least, you apparently think that the church and the hierarchy should let the Gospel die the death of a thousand qualifications, and then it will no longer be an obstacle to “progressive” thought and action. But St. John wrote: “Anyone who is so ‘progressive’ as not to remain in the teaching of the Christ, does not have God.”

St. Paul foresaw that the teaching of Christ would fall out of favor. He told Timothy to persevere in preaching the word, whether convenient or inconvenient, “for the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine, but, following their own desires, will surround themselves with teachers who tickle their ears. They will stop listening to the truth and will wander off to fables.”


Balke is a retired bishop of the Diocese of Crookston, Minn.