The latest buzzword, amongst those who hunger to water down the Catholic faith, is ‘paradigm shift’. Have you run up against awkward scripture that frustrates your favoured narrative? No problem – ignore that teaching by explaining it is time for a ‘paradigm shift’!
Does the historic teaching of the church contradict a desire to endorse _________? (insert favoured cause) Explain how the Holy Spirit is ‘doing a brave new thing’ encouraging a ‘paradigm shift’. If your audience still seems unsure make clear it is a ‘work of mercy’ and demonise those faithful to the previous historic teaching as outdated ‘rigid and legalistic’. Then most will applaud; certainly politicians, the secular media, cafeteria Catholics, atheists, liberal protestants et al…
Cardinal Tobin, who recently caused scandal by sending a private text- (reading ‘Nighty, night baby. I love you xx’) as a public tweet; and whose explanation (that it was for his sister…) was largely met with scepticism, is the latest to jump on this bandwagon. At a conference endorsing modernist agenda he suggested the church is ‘moving’ in its approach to homosexuality because…. a paradigm shift is underway!
But here is the problem for Cardinal Tobin and other advocates of modernist revolution within the church. You cannot endorse a paradigm shift if there is only one acceptable paradigm!
This is made clear at Mass when we are told that the new covenant is eternal. It is made clear in Hebrews where, in a passage instructing us to honour marriage, we read ‘Jesus is the same, yesterday, today and forever’. It was spoken by Isaiah ‘the grass withers, the flowers fade but the Word of God will stand forever’ After his resurrection Jesus made it clear, on the road to Emmaus, teaching how his rising was no ‘paradigm shift’ but a fulfilment of Old Testament promises. Jesus also said “until heaven and earth pass away, not even one iota, nor one stroke of a letter, shall pass away from the law”.
So how can it be implied, by Tobin et al, that God is now abandoning historic doctrine to do a new thing? A thing, it must be noted, that does not strengthen church teaching but concedes ground to secular concensus and philosophy of the sexual revolution. By all established rules of the church such change is not permissible. And given that those pushing the change can only appeal to sentiment not reason, pleading the cause of mercy but refusing to answer questions with clarity, we ought smell a rat. Might this be a demand for heretical teaching? Are we being duped into accepting snake oil to ensure comfort from the world?
The Holy Spirit, Word of God, the deposit of faith revealed to Apostles, the Catholic faith -these things being divinely revealed truth are not for changing. Things might develop naturally but cannot change via contradiction. Because God does not do U-turns. Truth is truth. And this is VERY important. Because when we stop looking to scripture and tradition, to discern the will of God, we are left only with ‘experts’ to tell us which bits to believe and which to discard. We switch from a reliance on objective divine revelation to subjective discernment imparted by fallen men. Clericalism writ large. And if the abuse crisis, and rumours of immoral lives within the Vatican, teach us anything – it is that we should not place trust in the Princes of this world but in Christ whose church it is.
So when modernist theologians attempt to seduce you into squaring impossible circles, in the name of mercy and via the ‘paradigm shift’, be extremely cautious. Meditate on scripture, consider the teaching of Saints. And do read 2 Timothy 4:3 which warns that ‘the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.’
Beware Paradigm shifters…I fear they sell us snake oil.