A Plea for Genuine Love: Willing the Good of the Sinner

Recall an episode. Two Saints once walked the streets of Lystra. At their feet, a paralyzed man, a cripple from birth. He was handed this life of exterior woe! He asked for it not. He heard the glorious words of the Apostles, received them with faith; and one of the Saints, Paul, ministered unto him a genuine miracle, not a sham pronouncement of words. He said not, “Your sins are no sins.” He said, “Walk.” And the man walked.

Immediately the crowds gathered round to do Paul homage, and they worshiped him and Barnabus. Nowadays, one’s portrait makes a cover or two.

These saints, loving souls, knowing that this worship of mere men were an evil thing for them, knowing that by this worship they would be led astray, led even to hell for their misguided love of Apostles, pointed them away from themselves and to The Only One Who is Good. They bade them repent of their former way of life (Acts 14:8-18).

Let us learn from this ancient episode. The Saint’s good love of this poor man inadvertently caused scandal. Yes, scandal.

Scandal is leading someone astray by words or deeds. Some scandal is intended. Some is not. Unintended scandal cannot always be avoided. Witness this very deed! Intended scandal is Satanic. It is worse than fornication, worse than murder, worse than the unnatural sins.

The act of the Apostles was one of love and divine healing, yet without their intent it led men astray. The instant they observed the effect of this scandal, they immediately pointed out the error, having the man right before them. So quick they were to tear their very robes: We are only men! They exclaimed. Worship God and repent of your former ways in paganism. God hath wrought this, not we.

What must we learn from this episode? If we embrace some sinner whom no one had been embracing, who felt that communion with God would always be impossible, if we embrace such a man, so as to awaken him to God, to show him that God seeks him, …. If we do so and this poor wretch conceives in his mind that his sin is no longer sin, that his life is no longer hostile to God, that he has nothing of which to repent, that he can embrace his sin, identify with his sin, live in his sin, then we have scandalized this poor sinner.

If we love him, surely we intend no harm.

Lovers, we must therefore clarify for him immediately that this was not our intent, that he must repent, that sin is always an obstacle, that sin leads to damnation, that living in sin is worse than sin – for it approaches the impenitence of the damned, and that calling evil good and good evil is an abomination worse than all the above. For it is one thing to be a weak man aiming to do good but falling, when you are seduced by a woman. It is another to embrace an unnatural sin by oneself. It is yet another to defile both self and another in unnatural sin. It is yet another to carve out one’s being in the world by defining oneself according to this sin. It is finally the ultimate step when one wages war against one’s very mind – upon which shines the truth of the order of nature – and declares that what is sin is no sin and that what is right and just is rather sin. This last sin imitates Satan more than the unnatural lusts which cry out to heaven for vengeance.

O lover who has embraced sinners whom too few before embraced! O true lover: Love until the end (Jn 13:1). Do not let your beloved be led astray into the excrement of vile sin, where no life comes forth, where lies only “dung and death” (T.S. Eliot). Let him not descend into the raging pit of fire, the hell of sulfur in which he shall find “No hands, no limbs for pleasure, on earth that had such leisure.”

Now, if the sinner cites you, praises you, extols your embrace as the reason he can continue in his misdeeds…! Then, you has he misread, since you loved him. When he says these things, do you hear him? Hear him, since you love him! For if he does this, you has he misread, for you love him.

Love, then, until the end. Even if he should turn and denounce you. You must pick up your Cross, O Man! For you are but dust yourself!

Pick up your Cross, O Man, and speak the whole truth plainly to him. Misread, your words cause him scandal. Mistaken, your embrace becomes his poison! Let your love, then, fulfill its good work. Bring it to completion. Preach to him the wickedness of his ways and the right understanding of mercy. Tell him of St. Paul’s stark warnings:

“Do you presume upon the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience? Do you not know that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?”

“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God”

If the man has not been washed, then let him be washed and cleansed in baptism. If he has been washed, let him come forward to Confession, do penance for his offenses.

Only then, O Lover, shall you have helped him to the good, that Good alone which will satisfy his heart.

But God forbid: Flatter yourself not. For the man yearns not for your embrace. He yearns for Truth’s Embrace. Mere words are vapid; they have sound but no health; letters, but they cannot heal; signs but no substance.

Why delay? Why delay? He is aged and aging. And our years are but seventy; eighty if we are strong!

Should Those in Sin be Counseled to Receive the Eucharist (Part 3)

Part 3

Now, even if such an apparently foolish decision were made, There remains a question.

Who that wanted to approach God would follow the permission?

It would not be recommendable. If a pastor were to counsel someone to take advantage of such a permission, would not the person who truly wanted to be right with God want, deep down, to quit his situation of sin and go to confession with the firm purpose of amendment before receiving the Eucharist? Then it would be a joy, the joy it should be, not a mixed thing, not an occasion of sadness, or worse, judgment.

Is it not lamentable that we have come to such a low state as this, entertaining the possibility that those living in sin should be admitted to the Eucharist? How does this solve things? Why should anyone tell people that it is “Ok” that they are in a state of sin or living in sin?

If we do this, we cover up the actual state of affairs for them. We repress their consciences, which go on whipping their confusion anyway. For the conscience always speaks, though man tells tales. And this is exactly why sinners who hear preachers / believers stating, “It is ok; it is not a sin” have reason to hate this preacher. For the preacher is trying to enjoy a cup of coffee with the sinner, while the sinner sips poison unto death. The preacher just wants to “be with someone in peace,” yes, with someone who is going to hell. And the sinner knows this. Thus, he has good reason to hate the preacher. Unless the preacher abandons the faith altogether. But to remain in the faith, supposedly on the journey to heaven, while letting the neighbor go to hell – how is that supposed to make the sinner feel better? What are you after, you preacher who preach lies? What is your prize? Where is your treasure? You liar. You thief.

It is lamentable that we should strip the sinner of his dignity. For if we set the bar falsely for them, if we suggest that sinners are beneath Christian dignity, beneath the dignity of real sons and daughters, we strip them of their dignity. Why demean them with our pessimism?

We do do this, when we fail to say, “REPENT, FOR THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS AT HAND.” When we fail to preach truth, we imply, “You are not able to abide by the Law of God; let’s just set the law aside; don’t pay attention to it. If the sin is venial, this is bad enough; but if it is mortal, this is very terrible indeed. While they are on their way to death, their physical death, all the while dead in the first death of sin as they drag their bodies with them towards that physical death, we whisper in their ears, tickling them with what they want to hear while they live a false dream of sin without consequences. We tell them they are OK precisely in their sinful state, so that they go forth and plunge to their final death, the everlasting death of damnation.

How is this pastoral?

Should those in Sin be Counseled to Receive the Eucharist (Part 2)

Part 2

If a pastor were to counsel someone living in sin to receive the Eucharist, how would that be good advice? How would it be pastoral? Would it not be the exact opposite of pastoral?

To pastor is to lead to Christ. If such advice leads to a sin against the Sacrament of the Eucharist, how could it be pastoral? Now, the Holy Spirit does not ensure that all pastoral advice will be good advice. Rather, if a priest is holy and wise, his advice is very likely to be good advice. Thus, those who seek holiness should solicit the counsel of priests who are holy and wise.

Sometimes pastors do give very damaging advice. For instance, if a priest were to tell a contracepting person, “Contraception is ok; it is not a sin,” this would be very damaging advice. It would cause the person to sin. Again, a confessor might tell a young man who masturbates, “It is ok; it is not a sin.” But such judgments are false. And the confessor is obligated to know they are false. Such judgments can lead a man to hell!

So, pastors can corrupt the lived lives of the faithful through their foolish counsel, even if their taught doctrine be not corrupt. Through their advice and counsel, they can lead astray. Let us pray that those in authority such as bishops and priests will grant only wise permissions and will do what must be done in terms of pastoral advice, thus providing the pilgrim flock with the Bread of Life and the Doctrine of Purity. This is Pope Francis’s prayer.

But if a pastor were to counsel one living in sin to receive the Eucharist, would he not fail to feed his flock and to guide it and guard it by not preaching the requisite conditions for the reception of the Eucharist? By pretending that sin is no longer sin. By pretending that a pastoral declaration, “You are ok” is enough to justify a man in God’s sight. But it is not enough. Sin remains sin, though we try to cover it with our declarations. Only God can erase sin. And he has instituted the Sacrament of Reconciliation for this purpose.

And the valid reception of that sacrament requires firm purpose of amendment. Otherwise, the man who approaches that sacrament, and intends to go on living in sin afterwards, is making a mockery also of this sacrament. Thus, he sins twice. And should he receive the Eucharist, three times.

If  wholesale pastoral permission were given to a group of people living in sin to receive the Eucharist, how on earth would such permission be for their eternal welfare? Would it not be an ecclesial corruption? Would it not be the abdication of the proper role of pastors? Would it not be to leave the flock to the very wolves, to the Lion who prowls about seeking whom to devour?

We must pray that so foolish a decision would not be made.

Should those Living in Sin Be Counseled to Receive the Eucharist?

It is time to re-issue a number of posts regarding the topic of the synod. Hence,…

Well, a prior question is: Would one living in sin be wise if he or she were to receive the Eucharist? The answer is a resounding, “No.”

Why not? I have stated why not in a previous post. To sum up, if my bearing in life is against the will of God, then I am opposed to his loving embrace. The Eucharist is his loving embrace. Therefore, if I receive him in the Eucharist while living in sin, I do violence to him. I offend him. I trample his will. I negate his holiness. I mock his law. Therefore, I bring down his anger upon me.

There can be no excuse for doing this. And the consequence is everlasting alienation. That is, it is a grave sin to receive the Eucharist while in a state of sin. Much more while “living in sin”.

Now, the Magisterium is at the service of the Word of God. The Magisterium is not a “source” of revelation. Scripture and Tradition are the vehicles of the transmission of the one Word of God. The Magisterium is the servant of this Word and is strictly bound by it. See Dei verbum.

All right counsel in the Church must adhere to this Word of God. There is no such thing as “pastoral” advice that goes against this Word of God.

Therefore, if a priest were to advise that one who is living in sin receive the Eucharist, such advice would be very unpastoral. I have already argued this out in a previous post. Of course, if rumors of such counsel are running around, we would do best to consider that we do not know all the facts and that maybe there is not much behind the rumors. And then pray for our own souls.

What is impossible to understand is that some bishops are actually considering the possibility of the Church officially allowing divorced and remarried persons to receive the Eucharist. How could this be a good pastoral decision?

We must recall Church dogma: A valid sacramental marriage cannot be broken by any finite power whatsoever, not even by the hand of the Pope. Therefore, no really married Christian couple can ever break their bond. A divorce for them is a figment of the imagination, an impossibility. FULL STOP. Thus, if they attempt to “re-marry” they are day-dreaming a lie, a sham; their second marriage is a total sham. Their sexual relations with this new partner are adulterous. In that these people commit to a life in which such sins are readily available, they are “living in sin”. They meet the classical definition of “living in sin”. Now, the end of any mortal sin is death. But living in sin is a state of impenitence already anticipatory of damnation. This is most serious indeed.

Why on earth would any bishop consider allowing persons in such a dreadful state to embrace the Lord of Life in his Most Holy Sacrament?

Unconfusing the Synod on the Family

My posts “Be Not Confused” are meant as foundational background for the current crisis in the Church; we need a foundation and anchor by which to weather the storms of confusion and disorientation that are sweeping the Church currently.

I will return to those posts but the issue of the Synod requires attention.

The publication of the interim report on the Synod has proven disastrous. People are once again confused. A paragraph in the text suggest that the homosexual orientation “is worthy of valuing” and can “contribute” to the good of the world. These are utterly false.

The Church’s teaching is very clear. The homosexual orientation is an orientation to intrinsically evil acts. Each of those acts is a mortal sin. All that leads up to them participates in their guilt, for it is instrumental to them. All that serves them serves sin. Thus, even the diligence with which one person takes care to attend to another person is subservient to the sin in which they are (or are to be) engaged.

Now, the inclination to acts of this sort, which are unnatural because against reason, cannot be “well ordered”. It is a dis-ordered inclination, because the very object of the act, an act of sodomy, is evil.

Take another evil. Take drunkenness. It is evil to drink to excess. The habit of this is evil. The inclination to this act, developed by habitual action, is hence disordered. Take the man prone to outbursts of temper. His inclination to unjustified anger is a disorder.

No good emanates from such disordered inclinations. Hence, such inclinations cannot found any human right. This is the teaching of the Church herself: “The proper reaction to crimes committed against homosexual persons should not be to claim that the homosexual condition is not disordered. When such a claim is made and when homosexual activity is consequently condoned, or when civil legislation is introduced to protect behavior to which no one has any conceivable right, neither the church nor society at large should be surprised when other distorted notions and practices gain ground, and irrational and violent reactions increase” in this document.

We must love the person with this inclination. That loves leads us to show to him – as though he needed instruction here – that the inclination is disordered. I say “as though” because people who suffer from this ailment can detect within themselves a disorder. They can sense it and, rightly, be grieved over it. There are success stories of some people overcoming this disorder, and they feel integrated and whole again.

Those who have not or apparently cannot are part of the lot of humans: Those who have inclinations to acts which are evil. About every human being on the face of the earth is part of this lot. And what is the Church’s message to us: Repent of your sins, pick up your Cross like man, and call on God’s aid for endurance. There is hope. One need not plunge oneself into the dark mire of despair. There is another way. There is a light above the cesspool of sin. God will give us the grace to overcome. Only on him can we hope, and he feeds us through His Church.

Be Not Confused! On Authentic Dogmatic Development and Sound Doctrinal Interpretation

Part 16

So, we must return to Scalfari’s report. It is a truism to say “God is not a Catholic.” It is a truism because it would be a total category mistake to think that “God is a Catholic”. What, is God, who is pure spirit, to be baptized with water? While the rejection of a statement that involves a category mistake is true, it is often not helpful.

Precisely because it would be a category mistake to say that God is Catholic, it is unhelpful to say that he is not.

The rejection is unhelpful because it can lead to an erroneous conclusion in the hearer’s mind. For one might hear “God is not Catholic” to mean that God did not establish the Catholic religion as the one true religion. If one embraces the statement and this meaning of it, one embraces heresy. For God did establish the Catholic religion as the one true religion.

And the most important matter for each of us is to hold what is true and reject what is false.

Thus, I return to my formulation of the principle behind the hermeneutic of continuity. Here is my formula: No Catholic has any excuse on earth – for whatever reason whatsoever – to reject any defined teaching of faith or any teaching of faith held infallibly by the ordinary and universal magisterium. Regardless of what you hear rumored about or rustling in the leaves, no matter what “interim document” you have read on whatever website or press report, no matter what opinions of whatever men you have heard: You have left the true faith and abandoned Christ if you use any statement from whomever or whatever source as reason to hold what contradicts dogma.

It is time to return to St. Paul’s formula: “Even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we preached [past tense], let him be accursed” (Gal 1:8).

Paul is indicating the crucial second rule of dogmatic interpretation I laid down above. That rule is that dogmas can never be overturned. So, any proposal, dressed in the guise of “development,” that contradicts dogma, must be utterly rejected as false. We must ever keep in mind the dogmas, with the same meaning and judgment with which they were propounded. Whoever departs from them is a heretic. Whoever is a heretic loses membership in the Church. And no one who has not membership in the Church has authority over her.

Be Not Confused! On Authentic Dogmatic Development and Sound Doctrinal Interpretation

Part 15

But what about the salvation of non-Catholics? This is the question I think most people have in mind. For there are some who really do hold that all religions are equal. But most people simply worry about non-Catholics being saved. It is a legitimate concern. What is the Church’s answer to this?

The individual who is outside the visible confines of the Church cannot be saved if he knows that Christ founded the Church as necessary for salvation and yet refuses to enter her or remain in her, the individual cannot be saved. The very act of refusing to enter or of leaving would constitute grave sin.

Similarly, the individual who is vincibly ignorant of the truth of the Catholic faith cannot be saved. One is “vincibly” ignorant if one’s free acting is responsible for one’s ignorance. For instance, if I neglect to inform myself as to what the good and true way of life is, if I simply devote myself to myself and my immediate pragmatic needs, then my ignorance of things religious is culpable. Therefore, I am accountable for not being in the Church if I have not pursued the truth of God with sufficient interest and care.

However, if the individual is invincibly ignorant of the necessity of the Catholic Church for salvation, then he will not be condemned for not entering her. For God holds us accountable for those things about which we have free action. To say “invincibly” ignorant is to say that his own free acting is not responsible for his ignorance, either by neglect or by something else. Someone condemned in this state would be condemned for some sin, but not for not entering the Church. It could be, for instance, that such a one is tempted to sin and sins, yet has precious few means of being restored to God’s grace. After all, the Catholic himself who is serious about the life of faith will acknowledge that he is beset by sin; he can fall into mortal sin. This serious Catholic will admit, in self-knowledge, that if he should fall into mortal sin and not have the opportunity to receive the Sacraments, how difficult it would be for him to lean on God and love God above all things, a necessary condition for final salvation.

How wide the road and how easy that leads to condemnation, and how many there are who take it.

But the person invicibly ignorant of the necessity of the Catholic Church might be saved. If so, he is not saved by his religion, which as a whole is false and thus evil, but rather by the grace of God that works in his circumstances, if he cooperates with this grace.

 

Be Not Confused! On Authentic Dogmatic Development and Sound Doctrinal Interpretation

Part 14

So, there is no argument from silence. Even if Pope Francis were to remain silent through all this confusion about marriage and sex, there is no argument anyone can make from this silence.

The truth is available. Read Ludwig Ott’s Fundamentals; read the New Catechism. Read Sources of Catholic Dogma. Be informed and do not lose the faith.

But there is another strategy someone might employ. Someone might take an interview by Pope Francis as though it were a magisterial act.

But in fact, these interviews are not magisterial acts. They are merely “words of a pope,” at best. I say at best because many of them are also second hand reports of what the pope said. But interviews do not constitute magisterial acts. It is creeping infallibility to proclaim that they do. Thus, we cannot use these interviews to mount theological arguments.

Nor is the pope protected by Christ when he issues his own opinions about things. Then, he speaks for himself, as an individual man living in the world. But because he is the man charged to defend, guide, and feed the flock of Christ’s only Church, the Catholic Church, because he is the man, because even Protestants who find certain things Catholic to which they cannot consent – because even these have for centuries found in the Vicar of Christ a kind of anchor in the midst of secularization, liberalization, banalization, because his words have often defended Truth and Goodness, and denounced Evil and Heresy, these too find in him a crucial point of reference. Thus, Catholic or non-Catholic Christian look to the pope to feed them with truth in the proper season.

Thus it is that the eyes of all the world look on the man.

So it was that every news press in the world reported a certain interview of the pope with the atheist Scalfari (2013). Of the interview, Scalfari writes, “The most surprising thing he told me was: ‘God is not Catholic.’ I asked him what he meant, since he is the leader of the Catholic Church, and he told me that ‘God is universal, and we are catholic in the sense of the way we worship him.”

First to note, we have this statement second hand. We do not have it from the pope’s own pen.

What do people like to do with this statement? People like to say, “You see! God did not establish just one religion that is true, just the Catholic religion. Other religions are also true. They are also ways God has divinely laid out for people to come to him.”

But that is totally false. God has appointed only two identifiable religions in the history of the world. First, there was Judaism and its rites. Second, there is the Catholic Church and its rites. Judaism is fulfilled in the Catholic Church and no longer has any divine appointment apart from its fulfillment in the Catholic Church. Thus the only religion presently appointed by God is the Catholic religion. The Catholic Church is sent out to the world to preach the Gospel of Christ, to offer the means for union with Christ and attainment of final salvation, and to guide human acts towards this glorious end. The Catholic Church was sent out by Christ that he might seek and save all that is confused, lost, wandering, straying, helpless, starving, blind in the world.

There is no other divinely appointed religion.

Do other religions have grains of truth in them? Yes; it is not practically possible to have a large set of truth claims that are all false. Are there good elements in these other religions? In many of them, yes. Are these elements sufficient to make the religion as a whole good and salvific? No, they are not. For religions are just that, wholes. Though each religion has some truth in it and most religions have some good in them, yet as a whole, none but ancient Judaism and the Catholic religion can be called good. Why? Because the errors in other religions are at the service of lies. If one presents himself in the name of God, “I am a prophet; I come speaking for God,” and yet God has not appointed him, he is a liar. Thus, all religions that now claim divine appointment, except the Catholic religion, are false religions. Their package deal destroys, it does not raise up and heal, even if isolated elements within them can be true and good.

 

Be Not Confused! On Authentic Dogmatic Development and Sound Doctrinal Interpretation

Part 13

What I have laid out in the previous twelve posts is relevant for a Catholic today. Someone might, for instance, take the apparent silence of Pope Francis on the Truth of Marriage, Sexuality, etc., as tacit acceptance of a revolution in Church doctrine.

Indeed, there are a number of bishops and theologians who wish to destroy the Catholic Church’s teaching, and hence the very Church of Christ, and hence the very face of our Lord, Jesus Christ, who reigns now at the right hand of the Father. They wish to re-configure the Church to their image. They wish to late the latest pseudo-magisterial utterance confuse the public, weaken the public, assist them in the overthrow of Truth Himself!

But these are renegades and revolutionaries. They are enemies. Traitors. Betrayers of innocent blood. For if blood is life, and if salvation, our life, is lost, by this confusion, then they are slaying innocent blood. Murdering innocent souls. Preying on the weak to fill up their measure of honor on earth, human honor, not to lose their precious German Religious Tax! Hounds for blood, not for life. Predators.

Wolves in sheep’s clothing.

And after their nine month trumpeting of their position, while all the world in silence waits, finally a noble shepherd, a true man after the lamb of God, Cardinal Burke, calls upon the Pope to speak up and once again reaffirm Catholic dogma on marriage and sex. Amen to this appeal from Cardinal Burke. Amen.

However, I would add one thing. It would be pastorally helpful, a true act of feeding the flock, for Pope Francis to make such a statement. The Pope urged us to ask bishops to feed us. We need his food now, for our practical solace, our encouragement, our vigor, our ability to carry our cross, our confidence in Truth as the dictatorship of relativism wages its mightiest against us.

However, in order for you and me to know the truth, such a papal statement is not necessary. It is not, for the teaching is already in place. It is dogma.

Thus, if we wait like deer in dry lands, weary, yearning for consolation and healing, if we wait for Pope Francis’s words to feed and encourage us, yet we wait not with any worry about the truth of the matter. We do not wait, in expectation that the truth could be overturned. It cannot.

Any real attempt, internal or external, by any Catholic official, explicitly to overturn the dogma of the Church would constitute the sin of heresy. Heresy entails the loss of the teaching office. Hence, no one could utter such a statement and continue to hold the office, but would lose it. And we would wait for competent authority to state that this is so.

It wouldn’t matter if the whole world went after such a statement, in hopes that all its lust and lascivious lifestyle were thereby affirmed. None of that would matter.

Those who hear the voice of the Shepherd would know not to heed the voice of heresy.

Our Lord declares, “The sheep follow him [the true shepherd], for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers” (Jn 10:4f).

All shepherds must come through the one shepherd, must heed his voice, must follow his way, must embrace His Truth. All who do not are thieves and robbers (v. 8). “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy” (v. 10).

In the face of the thieving wolf, the raging dragon, the good shepherd lays down his life.

But in the face of the thieving wolf, the hireling flees.

Let us not leave our posts or our faith. Let us pray for the Victory of Truth in the midst of this confusing synod, the confusion of which is no doubt wreaking havoc in people’s lives.

But those who are being confused are perhaps vincibly ignorant. God knows who they are. Those who have long wished for ears to be tickled. These are now being tickled, even deceived. No wonder that “God sends upon them a strong delusion, to make them believe what is false” by his permissive will. No wonder; this is so that “all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (2 Thess 1:11), words very well chosen by the Apostle to the Gentiles.

Be Not Confused! On Authentic Dogmatic Development and Sound Doctrinal Interpretation

Part 12

Of course, it is absurd to use the “words of one who subsequently became pope”. But some people sloppily do this as well. Before he was no pope, obviously none of his words can be papal. But people still cite the “early so-and-so” as though we should read that text because of its authority. Rather, if anything is good in the text, keep it; if anything is unworthy, reject it.

For instance, people will refer to Love and Responsibility by Karol Wojtyla, the later Pope St. John Paul II. Or, people will refer to Introduction to Christianity by Josef Ratzinger, the later Benedict XVI.

But these works should be judged for their theological merits or demerits. They must not be confused with Magisterial teachings.

In practice, it is good to say, “Karol Wojtyla” or “Joseph Ratzinger,” etc., instead of “Pope John Paul II” when referring to these texts.