As I was speaking to a couple of friendly Catholic teachers while traveling recently, the subject of the imminent conclave came up. When I expressed the need to pray for the cardinals to elect a worthy candidate, one of the ladies said, enthusiastically, “The Holy Spirit is guiding them!”
To this I responded that it is not a forgone conclusion that the cardinals will cooperate with the Holy Ghost. It is for such that we must pray.
Roberto de Mattei is clearly of the same opinion, and eloquently observes the spirit of pietistic fideism in much of this exaggerated talk of how wonderful everything is that emanates from those governing the Church at its various levels.
It is all to common in certain circles, for instance, to compress the different levels of magisterial intervention into two: 1) utterly infallible, and 2) virtually so, so don’t question it, even if it seems to fly in the face of tradition — for the Holy Ghost safeguards everything done by the Church!
In much the same way, one might simplistically argue that, in virtue of God’s providence in human history, only the right side ever wins a war.
Here is one choice paragraph from de Mattei:
The error, which is more and more widespread, is that of wanting to justify any decision made by a Pope, a Council, an Episcopal Conference in the name of that principle by which “the Holy Ghost always assists the Church.” The Church is certainly indefectible, due to the assistance of the Holy Ghost, “the Spirit of Truth” (John, 14, 7). She has from Her Founder the guarantee of persevering until the end of time, in the profession of the Faith, the Sacraments and the apostolic succession of government. However, indefectibility does not signify infallibility extended to all of the acts of the Magisterium and government, nor even to the impeccability of the highest ecclesiastical authorities.