What is “papal positivism”?
Fr. Ripperger, in 2001, had it figured out:
Because neo-conservatives reject the “extrinsic and intrinsic tradition,” in judging orthodoxy, “whatever comes out of the Vatican regardless of its authoritative weight, is to be held, even if it contradicts what was taught with comparable authority in the past.“
…psychologically the neo-conservatives have been left in a position in which the extrinsic and intrinsic tradition are no longer included in the norms of judging whether something is orthodox or not. As a result, whatever comes out of the Vatican regardless of its authoritative weight, is to be held, even if it contradicts what was taught with comparable authority in the past.
Since non-infallible ordinary acts of the magisterium can be erroneous, this leaves one in a precarious situation if one only takes as true what the current magisterium says. While we are required to give religious assent even to the non-infallible teachings of the Church, what are we to do when a magisterial document contradicts other current or previous teachings and one does not have any more authoritative weight than the other?
It is too simplistic merely to say that we are to follow the current teaching. What would happen if in a period of crisis, like our own, a non-infallible ordinary magisterial teaching contradicted what was in fact the truth? If one part of the magisterium contradicts another, both being at the same level, which is to believed? Unfortunately, what has happened is that many neo-conservatives have acted as if non-infallible ordinary magisterial teachings (e.g. the role of inculturation in the liturgy as stated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church) are, in fact, infallible when the current magisterium promulgates them. This is a positivist mentality.
What is positivism, and why must we reject it? It is another of the instruments of civilizational destruction that grew out of the post-Protestant, de-Christianized weedpatch of what we now call, apparently without irony, “The Enlightenment.”
As a philosophical system or method, Positivism denies the validity of metaphysical speculations, and maintains that the data of sense experience are the only object and the supreme criterion of human knowledge; as a religious system, it denies the existence of a personal God and takes humanity, “the great being”, as the object of its veneration and cult.
The failings of this form of epistemology is that if you base your apprehension of reality strictly on sense experience, you will quickly find that not everyone has the same data. It then falls to the biggest and the strongest to impose their interpretive criteria on everyone else. Positivism is the philosophy of the school yard bully.