The Two-Edged Sword of Timeliness
Our Lady's Electronic Newsletter: October 2012
The Two-Edged Sword of Timeliness

"In Rome this month, the Year of Faith was launched with a ceremony commemorating the 50th (that's right, 50th), anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council on Oct. 11, 1962. (See: "On the 50th Anniversary of the Second Vatican Disaster, the West is Now Mission Territory".) That means if you were 20-years-old when the Council began, you are 70-years-old now.

More than 2,100 Council Fathers attended the opening session in 1962. As of this writing, 70 are still alive. Only 14 are well enough to travel to Rome to participate in the commemoration ceremony. (See:14 surviving fathers of Vatican II to take part in Year of Faith opening ceremony".) One of them is the Holy Father, who is now 85.

Young Father Ratzinger was a peritus at the Council, i.e. a theological expert available for consultation by the Archbishop of Cologne, Joseph Frings. Photos of the then-young priest show him in a business suit and tie, as clerical garb was becoming unfashionable in progressive circles at the Council. (See: "Pope in a business suit".) Of course, as Supreme Pontiff, Benedict XVI is known for his penchant for digging into the papal wardrobe, as demonstrated in the famous photo showing him in a Santa-Claus like hat at Christmas-time. (See:"'Santa Pope' woos Vatican crowds".)

So, Papa Ratzinger's taste in fashion appears to have changed. What about his taste in theology? Judging from his comments on the importance and profound meaning of the teachings of the Council, it would seem that the young progressive in the business suit still occupies a prominent place in the brain beneath the Santa Claus hat. (See: "Card. Ratzinger: There is no difference between my work at Vatican II and now".)

The Holy Father recently described the Council as a "giant fresco painted ... under the guidance of the Holy Spirit." A rather grandiose and laudatory phrase, and one with significant implications for what remains of this papacy. (See: "Audience: Pope's personal memories of Vatican II".)

The 14 surviving Council Fathers physically able to travel to Rome remind one of that handful of octogenarian veterans from a long forgotten war shuffling along in a Fourth of July Parade, like Spanish-American War veterans in the 1950s.

One can be reasonably certain, however, that, like the Pope, these Vatican II vets see the Council as a grand event and their participation in it as the high-point of their lives. But if you were to poll Catholics younger than 60-years-old, many would have only the vaguest knowledge of Vatican II. Certainly, few would think it a relevant factor in anyone's life.

This is the way the two-edged sword of timeliness cuts. It confines its advocates to the backwater of a particular viewpoint in a frozen moment, while history flows on relentlessly. And loyalty to that particular viewpoint becomes stubborn, for so much self-identity is invested in it. Much harm is often worked to preserve narcissistic memories.

One way to understand the seeming contradictions of the current papacy is to bear in mind always that Pope Benedict remains a creature of Vatican II. Beneath the traditional papal robes is the 35-year-old theologian in the business suit who glories in the belief that he's revolutionizing the Church.

For Catholics loyal to the Magisterium, Pope Benedict appears an ambivalent figure. He angers progressives by his concessions to Traditionalists, such as Summorum Pontificum and the lifting of the alleged excommunications of the bishops of the Society of St. Pius X, and then angers these same traditionalists with concessions to progressives, such as his lavish praise for the supposed benefits to the life of the Church made by the innovations of Vatican II and the appointment to Vatican posts of heterodox figures such as Archbishop Gerhard Müller. (See:"Archbishop Müller on the SSPX and His Controversial Writings" and "Leadership Conference of Women Religious Meet Amid Vatican Dialogue".)

Just who is Pope Benedict, theologically speaking? He appears to be one who believes in the resolution of opposites through the dialectic. In a word, he is a proponent of compromise. The formula appears to be: take some Tradition, add some contradictory innovation, stir thoroughly and bake for a long time at a low temperature. Voila! The continuity cake!

The trouble is, no one is lining up to buy the papal confection.

Hans Küng, who enjoyed an evening with the Pope, dining and talking over old times as Vatican II periti, has recently likened the Pope to Hitler and the bishops to Nazi generals. (See: "Küng calls for — wait for it — DISSENT!".) At the other end of the spectrum, members of the Society of St. Pius X threaten to leave the fraternity if a deal is struck with Benedict, whom they regard as an out-and-out Modernist. (See: "The SSPX is apparently about to go into schism over Bishop Fellay's plans to return 'within the walls'; we need him back and should pray that his opponents fail".)

In the middle is ranged the vast majority of Catholics who will go along with whatever their pastor says. The trouble is, the pastor often doesn't know what to say. This is the trouble with ambivalent leadership: it's confusing and indeterminate.

The synod on New Evangelization taking place this month is a prime example. The chattering pundits filled many a blog site noting the event, but no one managed to come up with a clear definition of the New Evangelization; or the Old Evangelization which it is presumably replacing. (See: "At synod, prelates call for fidelity to Church teaching; US cardinal emphasizes Confession".)

      Donald Cardinal Wuerl, of Washington, D.C., delivered what is considered the keynote address, which sets the tone for the synod. (See: "In major synod address, Cardinal Wuerl rues secularism and poor catechesis, analyzes new evangelization".) But you can sift the Cardinal's words and not find anything more than stale lamentations about growing secularism, poor catechesis and vague exhortations to a greater fidelity to Christ. As for a clear definition of New Evangelization, its methods and aims, His Eminence's words fall short.

It is as though a huge pep rally has been convened, but no one will say what the game is or who the players are. Three cheers for .... what, who, why?

Much of the discussion so far focuses on internal squabbles between contending factions within the Church. Familiar topics such as the role of women (read: women's ordination) have reared their tired heads. Timothy Cardinal Dolan of New York said the Sacrament of Penance is key to the New Evangelization. So, is this evangelization to be aimed at Catholics who don't go to Confession?

One may venture a guess that the Old Evangelization is aimed at converting non-Catholics to the Catholic Faith. This is now known under the pejorative term "proselytizing" and is anathema in the post-Vatican II Church, which is guided by ecumenism.

Of course, a clear definition of ecumenism has never been provided, either. So we don't quite know the aim of ecumenism. Nor do we know the aim of the New Evangelization. We assume the New Evangelization must be compatible with ecumenism, but what exactly does that mean?

The Old Evangelization is what built the Catholic Church. But it apparently is not in step with the times. Something new is needed for ... what precisely? If people are not to be converted, what is the purpose of evangelizing? Are we to talk about the Gospel, but not too persuasively? Are we to suggest the Catholic Faith is true, but not urge anyone to take it seriously enough to renounce their errors and embrace it?

The New Evangelization, with all its ambiguities and purposelessness, is what comes of the policy of compromise and "continuity" that mistakenly assumes truth and error can be conflated in a way that preserves truth without discarding or offending error. This mistaken assumption is traced by some to the imprecision in the formulations of Vatican II, whose opening to the world became an accommodation of the world — in all its worldliness.

Pope Benedict appears as the soul of civility. But civility is not among the heroic virtues. It may be distantly allied to Charity. But Charity is desiring the good of another in fraternal love. The ultimate — indeed the only real good — for anyone, according to Catholic dogma, is salvation. And salvation comes exclusively through acceptance of the Catholic Faith.

This is the unambiguous truth. This is the sole message of the True Evangelization. This is the heart of the Message of Fatima. This is what the successor of Peter is obliged to proclaim.

But the Church continues to sink in a morass of confusion. It is as though our leaders are suffering from a disorientation. We were warned of this. We were also told how to stop it. Fatima is the key to the True Evangelization. Let us pray the Holy Father will realize it before too long — and before it is too late.

Our Lady came to Fatima to save our souls. She came especially for us living in the Church today. She saw, and She sees our souls in danger — grave danger. She cannot remain silent. As Pope John Paul II explained: "Can the Mother, Who with all the force of the love that She fosters in the Holy Spirit and Who desires everyone's salvation, can She remain silent when She sees the very bases of Her children's salvation undermined?" The Pope then answered his own question: "No, She cannot remain silent."

The first basis of our salvation is our Catholic Faith. As the Catholic Creed (known as the Athanasian Creed) explains it: "Whoever wishes to be saved must before all else adhere to the Catholic Faith. He must preserve this faith whole and entire; otherwise he shall most certainly perish forever."

We must hold on to all our Catholic dogmas. But Our Lady said in the Third Secret, "In Portugal the dogma of the Faith will always be preserved etc", clearly indicating that dogma will not be preserved elsewhere. With all the confusing views coming from bishops and Cardinals, including some of those in the Vatican, we must not lose sight of the essentials. Now more than ever!

We know, for example, the Secret of Fatima — the part that is not yet published — condemns errors that would come into the Church as a result of Vatican Council II. We need to see and hear Our Lady's actual words so that we do not fall into heresy and damnation because we thought the priest, bishop or Cardinal that advises us is okay — yet we know the Third Secret warns us that one-third of the Cardinals, bishops and priests are working for the devil. We need the actual text of the Third Secret now in its entirety — so we can save our souls!"
I don't have time to read the full article, but there's one thing I have to correct. When the Pope was at the Second Vatican Council dressed in a business suit, it was not for a distaste in clerical clothing. It was actually common in Germany at the time for diocesan priests and parish priests to wear a business suit when travelling, and this was common WAY before VII.
(10-22-2012, 05:14 PM)LoyalVIews Wrote: It was actually common in Germany at the time for diocesan priests and parish priests to wear a business suit when travelling, and this was common WAY before VII.

Yes, because the progressivists had taken over 'WAY before VII'! :)
(10-22-2012, 05:14 PM)LoyalVIews Wrote: I don't have time to read the full article, but there's one thing I have to correct. When the Pope was at the Second Vatican Council dressed in a business suit, it was not for a distaste in clerical clothing. It was actually common in Germany at the time for diocesan priests and parish priests to wear a business suit when travelling, and this was common WAY before VII.

But no one claims that the error in thought which lead to VII started with the calling of the Council.  In some areas, that "spirit" had been firmly entrenched for up to a century or two.

Why would a priest of Jesus Christ lose his visible signage of his vocation as a father in Christ's Church to look like an average man?  What holy purpose would this serve?
(10-22-2012, 05:14 PM)LoyalVIews Wrote: It was actually common in Germany at the time for diocesan priests and parish priests to wear a business suit when travelling, and this was common WAY before VII.

Well, Germany has been a mess for about 500 years. Evelyn Waugh said it best in one of his letters, found in the book A Bitter Trial: Evelyn Waugh and John Cardinal Heenan on the Liturgical Changes:

Quote:I think it is a great cheek of the Germans to try and teach the rest of the world anything about religion. They should be in perpetual sackcloth and ashes for all their enormities from Luther to Hitler. (p. 45)

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