VATICAN CITY, August 28, 2012 ( - In his Angelus address Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI spoke of Judas’ betrayal of Christ, saying that Judas’ problem was failing to leave Christ when he no longer believed – a “falsehood,” said the Pope, “which is a mark of the devil.”
“Judas,” said Pope Benedict, “could have left, as many of the disciples did; indeed, he would have left if he were honest. Instead he remained with Jesus. He did not remain because of faith, or because of love, but with the secret intention of taking vengeance on the Master.”
Pope Benedict
According to Human Life International Rome Director, Monsignor Ignacio Barreiro, the comments are very relevant to the current situation in the Catholic Church. Msgr. Barreiro, who holds a doctorate in Dogmatic theology, told LifeSiteNews that “for those Catholics who cannot bring themselves to believe the formal teachings of the Church on life and family matters it would be more honest to leave the Church rather than betraying Her.”
But, he added, “We regret very much that the person is so inclined and we wish they would have a conversion to truly believe.”
Pope Benedict, in his remarks, drew a distinction between believing and understanding, noting that some disciples walked away from Christ because they did not believe. However, he said, even those who remained believed before they fully understood.
The HLI Rome Director commented, “Intellectual difficulty is not disobedience.” He explained, “You might have teachings you find difficult to accept. However, (in those circumstances) it is virtuous to believe since you make a sacrifice of your own will, taking as your own the mind of the Church.”
Msgr. Barriero noted that submission of will and intellect is required when it comes to the official teachings of the Church, rather than prudential opinions. “For example,” he said, “it is required for the teaching on abortion, but there can be legitimate differences of opinion among Catholics on how to take care of the poor.”
Giving another example, he pointed out that “while the Church can never ordain women as priests, there can be difference on how to ensure all are provided access to medical care.”
The pope concluded with a prayer asking God to “help us to believe in Jesus, as St. Peter did, and to always be sincere with Him and with all people.”