The Holy Ghost1 always wants the good for the Church: so when bad things happen in the Church, they are within His permissive will but not His active will.
Satan always wishes the bad for the Church, and while God brings good out of evil, the direct evil is desired only by Satan.
It is not directly a problem for us that (for example) there have been Councils which were not successful on a prudential level: the Holy Ghost is the primary author of Scripture alone, and Councils are only firmly protected in a negative sense–no binding (e.g., a canon) unambiguous error in faith and morals.2
Nor is it directly a problem for us that there have been bad Popes: Catholicism teaches that Popes are humans with only very limited firm protection.
But still, the guidance of the Holy Ghost is presumably available when Councils are called, documents written, and Popes elected. And the temptations of Satan are presumably present as well.
So, when two Catholics disagree about Vatican II or the current Pope or whatever, de facto, they are each claiming to be on the side of God, while the other is…well…on the side of Satan.
We all know that there have been problems in the Church: always! God is truth, and to deny that fact would be to…well…side with Satan who is the father of lies.
And yet, when any specific problem is identified, the unavoidable implication is that one or more Church officials are on Satan’s team–at least regarding that particular issue at that particular moment in time.
Who wants to think that? That is too inflammatory for us to handle well.
And if you allow yourself to see the evil, it can unbalance you. An Abbot used to tell us that the last stage in literary criticism is understanding evil: few get there, and those who do pay a terrible price.
So, to over-simplify, and be flip, we have three basic options:
- Deny reality (i.e., claim there are no problems).
- See the problems, and become unbalanced.
- Be holy.
Being holy is hard; the other two are easy…
- “Spiritus Sanctus” was routinely translated as “Holy Ghost” during Fr. Dudley’s time, but it is usually now translated as “Holy Spirit.” Of course, both translations are correct. This site uses “Holy Ghost” only as part of a larger effort to illustrate an older communications style–not as any kind of “statement.”
- Of course, there is also the ordinary Magisterium, but that refers to what has always and everywhere been taught–not new teachings nor departures from past teachings. Moreover, prudential judgments about such matters as the best communications approach are not doctrine and thus not protected.