In today's Distinctly Catholic essay in National Capital Reporter, Michael Sean Winters takes on the question of the Church's teaching authority under Pope Francis, as well as MSWs lack of comfort with a Spirit of Prophesy. Since I have been profering that term in comments for the past six years in both America and NCR, I am responding here and on his column. You can find his essay at http://ncronline.org/blogs/distinctly-catholic/pope-francis-authority My comments follow:
The ulitmate authority of Pope Francis is his emulation of Christ on Holy Thursday. Unike most prelates, his emulation is year round - rather than the exception to the rule of the medieval hierarchy found in most diocese, who make a mockery of the washing of the feet. If the authority of his example spreads throughout the Church, the teaching authority of the Church will be magnified.
There are a couple of areas where dissent is possible. Dissent on believed doctrine, such as the Trinity, does occur - but this is not dissent aganst the papacy but against the original Councils of the Church that spoke those doctrines and a living Church that continues to make them new yet unchanged. This is not to say that newness is not possible, but it must be in the light of either scripture or archeological discovery.
Where the Spirit of Prophesy enters in is where there has been abuse - such as the scandal of the abuse of chidlren. It can also occur when others have been abused because of the dominant culture. It is abusive to call gay sexuality disordered to keep the old order alive when the new order was evolving quite nicely - including in the Church - where sexuality was seen as a gift God. If the Church conceded the point that God created gays as is, they could not stop gay marriage. This is no doctrinal matter - it is a matter of natural law, not belief The same goes for the ordination of women. I have nowhere found misogyny a core belief of Catholicism, although you would never guess that from the CDF. Likewise, calling these matters an issue of authority, when they are an issue of natural reason, is an abuse that the prophetic spirit will continue to rebel against. There is no authority of the Church to have the hierarchy trump the moral teaching on the nature of man. The whole point of natural law is not just that it is about natural humanity - but that it is AVAILABLE TO ALL. The Curia can either have black letter law or reason. It cannot mix the two without being called out for lying.