Book Review

True Obedience in the Church: A Guide to Discernment in Challenging Times

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Peter Kwasniewski’s excellent book, True Obedience in the Church, is a godsend to those of us who have struggled with the issue of obedience to sinful policies and pronouncements of corrupt clergy. As a cradle Catholic, I was taught from an early age the virtue of obedience to those in authority. In my youth, these consisted of parents, teachers, policemen, and priests at that time, but eventually expanded to include employers, government officials, our bishop, and the Pope. We obeyed earthly authority in obedience to God, plain and simple. As Pope Leo XIII is quoted in this concise book, “The only one whom we ultimately obey is God Himself.”

However, these days it is not so simple. As the author explains clearly and with ample scholarly support from St. Paul, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Augustine, and other noted theologians, we are not obliged to obey an authority who refuses to obey God. On the contrary, when authority abandons the truth of the faith in Scripture and Tradition, faithful Catholics are required to challenge it and resist it. The decision to resist corrupt authority cannot be “outsourced” to another; rather each of us must exercise the virtue of prudence and moral reasoning in this duty, realizing that we are responsible to God to live by a well-formed conscience. 

For those who worry that standing against a higher authority who abuses his power will lead to schism, the author assures us that we are not the “disobedient;” we are the faithful. Clergymen who preach a different gospel than that which was handed down to us from Jesus and apostles in an effort to obtain a false “unity” are the source of the division they claim to detest. 

In these days of canceling faithful priests, restricting the Latin Mass, and dioceses drowning in a swamp of moral and financial scandals, faithful Catholics can no longer “sit on the fence.” Fortified with the Truth, as explained thoroughly in this book, we must refuse to comply with false doctrines and destructive orders that subvert the life and health of the Church. I pray that you will read True Obedience in the Church and thereby find the solid reasoning and fortitude to stand strong, for we must obey God, rather than any priest, bishop, cardinal, or pontiff who betrays His sacred trust.

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