Pope Francis has been turning heads with his more progressive views on church doctrine ever since he took to his bully pulpit and has not backed off. He just recently attacked capitalism by saying that the culture of prosperity has deadened us, which has caused quite a ripple in the conservative movement and they have been trashing him for it---religiously. Here's two examples of those criticisms--one by Rush Limbaugh and one by Stuart Varney of Fox News.
So it was to nobody's surprise that the Archbishop of New York, Cardinal Timothy Dolan appeared on Meet The Press to try and calm down the hard-liners from freaking out over his courageous viewpoints. By the way, when have you ever heard a prominent member of the Catholic Church actually try to diminish the power of their pontiff, who is supposed to be infallible in all things?
The doctrine of infallibility relies on one of the cornerstones of Catholic dogma: that of petrine supremacy of the pope, and his authority to be the ruling agent in deciding what will be accepted as formal beliefs in the Roman Catholic Church.
Cardinal Dolan is quite smooth as a speaker and he bamboozled right past David Gregory when he said that Pope Francis is just the head spokesman for the church.
DAVID GREGORY: He's not making any doctrinal changes.
CARDINAL TIMOTHY DOLAN: Nope. Uh-uh (NEGATIVE).
DAVID GREGORY: Church doctrine remains the same. By have described it as a change of tone.
CARDINAL TIMOTHY DOLAN: I would say a change of tone, a change of strategy. Right, a pope by his nature can't make doctrinal changes. In fact, his sacred responsibility is to protect the integrity of the faith and to pass it on. He can make a lot of changes in the way, the style, the manner in which it's presented. You know the best analogy of that? John XXIII, who by the way, the Italians are saying Pope Francis reminds them of John XXIII. He was the pope from '58 to '63. He said, "Look, we've got the gift of faith. That gift can't change. But it can sure be gift wrapped in a better way to make it more appealing, to make it more radiant.
See, the Pope is really designed to be nothing more than a big talking windbag. Did you know that? I didn't. If he can't change anything then why all the fuss with the white smoke? In reality, Pope Francis can change many things, including their responses to contraception, gays, poverty, capitalism and whatever he so chooses.
Papal supremacy refers to the doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church that the pope, by reason of his office as Vicar of Christ and as pastor of the entire Christian Church, has full, supreme, and universal power over the whole Church, a power which he can always exercise unhindered: that, in brief, "the Pope enjoys, by divine institution, supreme, full, immediate, and universal power in the care of souls."
Cardinal Dolan knows all about Papal supremacy, but he had to ignore it or he couldn't downplay the power that Pope Francis actually has to the Anton Scalia's of the religious right.