Let’s stop pretending: something DID go wrong after Vatican II
#1
After I posted the article about the 'Pope's' 'Magisterium Authority' remarks about the goings-on within the Church after Vatican II being permanent, I found this good article:



Quote:Let’s stop pretending: something DID go wrong after Vatican II
By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Aug 23, 2017
     
Something went wrong—seriously wrong—in the Catholic Church in the years after Vatican II. Can we all agree on that much? Leave aside, for now, the familiar debate about the causes of the problem; let’s begin with the agreement that there is, or at least certainly was, a problem.

Eric Sammons makes the point in a provocative essay that appeared in Crisis last week:
Quote:If an entirely objective social scientist were to study the Catholic Church in the second half of the twentieth century, he would see one fact staring him straight in the face: the Church experienced a precipitous decline in the Western world during that time.

The problem (whatever it is) is compounded, Sammons remarks, by a general refusal to acknowledge the reality of our post-conciliar difficulties: what he terms a “soft censorship” of unpleasant news. Bishops and pastors, diocesan newspapers and parish bulletins have bombarded us for years with reports that the Church is “vibrant,” that programs are booming, that the liturgy is beautiful, that religious education is robust. Never is heard a discouraging word. Yet we know better. We know about the shortage of priests; we see the news of parish closing; we notice the empty pews on Sundays. Something is wrong; we know that.

Sammons argues persuasively that this “soft censorship,” this see-no-evil approach, is now an impediment to evangelization, because it thwarts serious discussions about the current state of the Church. Evangelization means bringing people to the truth, he reasons, and that process “cannot thrive in a censored environment.”

In another excellent essay, which had appeared a week earlier in First Things, the German author Martin Mosebach explored the catastrophic confusion and disorientation that visited the Church in the years after Vatican II, as the lives of ordinary parishes were disrupted by radical theological views and liturgical experiments. He notes:
Quote:To be fair, we should remember that the popes attempted to counter this—with a weak voice and above all without the will to intervene in these aberrations with an organizing hand as the ruler of the Church. Only a very few individual heresiarchs were disciplined—those who with their arrogant insolence practically forced their own reprimand. But the great mass of the “new-Pentecostals,” unrestrained and protected by widespread networks, could continue to exercise a tremendous influence on the day-to-day life of the Church. So, for outside observers, the claim that with Vatican II the Church had broken with her past became ever more probable.

Both Sammons and Mosebach see three standard interpretations of Vatican II:
  • The “liberal” or “progressive” interpretation sees the Council as a decisive break with Catholic tradition, and welcomes it. Citing the “spirit of Vatican II,” proponents of this interpretation have implemented radical changes in the Church, and push for more.
  • The “official” interpretation sees Vatican II as a great success, and denies that any serious problems arose in the Council’s aftermath. There was some understandable friction as changes were implemented, the partisans of this theory will concede. But ultimately the changes are proving successful and all is well.
  • The “conservative” or “orthodox” interpretation cherishes the documents of Vatican II, but believes the implementation of the Council was generally hijacked by the “progressive” party within the Church. If only we would adhere to the true teachings of the Council, this party says, the Church would thrive once again.
According to this “conservative” or “orthodox” interpretation, the hijacking of the Council created the incorrect impression that the Church had repudiated past teachings. My favorite quick exposition of this view was made by Philip Trower in his excellent book, Turmoil and Truth, in which he formed a vivid image to explain what happened:
Quote:Six men are pushing a heavily loaded car which has run out of fuel. Three of them, who have been riding in the car, want to push it 20 yards to get it into a lay-by. The other three, who have offered to help, mean to push the car 50 yards and shove it over a cliff followed by the car owner and his two friends. Once the pushing begins and the car starts moving it is probable the car is going to come to rest more than 20 yards from the starting point even if it does not end up at the cliff’s foot.

Now let us imagine what a group of people watching from a nearby hilltop will make of the incident. They will start by assuming that all six men have the same intentions. The car is moving steadily forward. Then they see three of the men detach themselves from the back of the car, run around to the front and try to stop it. Which are the troublemakers? Those surely who are now opposing the process that has been started.

The “liberal” interpretation is obviously wrong, because it ignores both the content of the Council’s teaching and the truth of Catholic history. As Pope Benedict XVI took pains to explain, the work of the Council must be understood in the context of the Church’s constant teaching. Only a “hermeneutic of continuity” can ensure a proper understanding. The Council was not a break with previous Church teaching; the Church, by her very nature, cannot break with her own past. To suggest that previous teachings were wrong, and only now are we getting things right, is to deny that the Church is and always has been guided by the Holy Spirit.

The “official” interpretation is also obviously wrong, because it ignores the reality that—despite the censorship exercised by house organs—we see all too clearly around us. The life of the Catholic Church is, sadly, not vigorous. Congregations are shrinking; young people are leaving. Yes, there are success stories; the Spirit has not abandoned the Church. But the overall trend-lines, which veered so steeply downward through the latter half of the 20th century, are still not encouraging.

But what about the “conservative” interpretation? Is it persuasive? Can it be reconciled with the facts? Sammons and Mosebach argue that the time has come for a frank—that is, uncensored—discussion of these questions.

Did the problems that arose after Vatican II come solely because the Council’s teachings were ignored, or improperly applied? Or were there difficulties with the documents themselves? Were there enough ambiguities in the Council’s teaching to create confusion? If so, were the ambiguities intentional—the result of compromises by the Council fathers?

Suggesting that there could be difficulties with some Vatican II documents does not mean denying the authority of the Council’s teaching. No document drafted by human hands will ever be perfect. There may be a need for clarification, elucidation, explanation, even correction.

More to the point, while it is certainly true that the “spirit of Vatican II” that is often cited in support of radical changes cannot be reconciled with the actual teachings of the Council, it is also true that the proponents of change can cite specific passages from Council documents in support of their plans. So are those passages being misinterpreted. Are they taken out of context? Or are there troublesome elements of the Council’s teaching, with which we should now grapple honestly? One thing is certain: we will not solve the problem by pretending that it does not exist.


[Image: 6_th.png]Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at CatholicCulture.org. See full bio.
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#2
The rot within the Church started before Vatican II.  Vatican II just brought it to the surface and perhaps even accelerated it.
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#3
I mean, there obviously have been problems after the Council--those who think everything is still all fine and dandy are those who were so caught up in those times that they can't admit they screwed up.  It's going to take most of episcopate having been on the ground and grown up in the "devastated vineyard" for this to be acknowledged--because no one wants to be a priest anymore unless you find the pearl that's been obscured.

As for Vatican II, what captured the problem for me was a contemporaneous review in a theological journal of a particular book published just after the Council  The reviewer criticized the author for treating Vatican II as the culmination of "aggiornamento" rather than the beginning of it.  What came from the authorities, including Rome, was definitely a mix of this (the liturgical reform is the quintessential example of the Council being treated as only the beginning of aggiornamento). 

We can never know for sure because it didn't happen, but I don't think treating the Council's acts as the end of aggiornamento and carrying them out as written with docility while otherwise leaving things as is would have been problematic (or at least as problematic). There were a few local dioceses and monasteries, etc. where this happened and they were fine (at least until someone with the other view took charge).  But after the Council, in most places, everything was treated as now up for grabs and all sorts of experimenting and novelty was engaged in.
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#4
(08-24-2017, 03:11 PM)StMichael929 Wrote: The rot within the Church started before Vatican II.  Vatican II just brought it to the surface and perhaps even accelerated it.

I have come to realize that the Roman Church is not the whole church.  If the Roman Church has rotted since VII, it does not mean the Church is dead.  The Church still lives in the East (Orthodox) and in traditional communities.  In the end, I believe the Eastern churches will save the West from its decay.
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#5
(08-25-2017, 07:24 AM)meadjodha Wrote:
(08-24-2017, 03:11 PM)StMichael929 Wrote: The rot within the Church started before Vatican II.  Vatican II just brought it to the surface and perhaps even accelerated it.

I have come to realize that the Roman Church is not the whole church.  If the Roman Church has rotted since VII, it does not mean the Church is dead.  The Church still lives in the East (Orthodox) and in traditional communities.  In the end, I believe the Eastern churches will save the West from its decay.

I admittedly do not know a lot about the Orthodox, but aren't there those that ARE in communion with Rome, and those that are not? I am reading a book (very slowly) about the Greek Orthodox, and they are stating things regarding the Bishop of Rome that as a Catholic make me wonder what is going on.  It's not like I had this wonderful formation in the faith. My point is, aren't there different types of Orthodox, those in true communion and those that are not? Some fine theological lines to be sure but I wanted to ask whom is considered Orthodox. Thanks for listening!
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#6
(08-25-2017, 11:13 PM)GrottoAl Wrote: I admittedly do not know a lot about the Orthodox, but aren't there those that ARE in communion with Rome, and those that are not? I am reading a book (very slowly) about the Greek Orthodox, and they are stating things regarding the Bishop of Rome that as a Catholic make me wonder what is going on.  It's not like I had this wonderful formation in the faith. My point is, aren't there different types of Orthodox, those in true communion and those that are not? Some fine theological lines to be sure but I wanted to ask whom is considered Orthodox. Thanks for listening!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_Catholic_Churches

Those churches in communion with Rome are Eastern Catholics. Those which are not are Orthodox. Many of the Eastern churches have an Orthodox counterpart, and share the same or similar traditions and liturgy, but they accept Catholic doctrine and the supremacy of the Pope.
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#7
(08-25-2017, 07:24 AM)meadjodha Wrote:
(08-24-2017, 03:11 PM)StMichael929 Wrote: The rot within the Church started before Vatican II.  Vatican II just brought it to the surface and perhaps even accelerated it.

I have come to realize that the Roman Church is not the whole church.  If the Roman Church has rotted since VII, it does not mean the Church is dead.  The Church still lives in the East (Orthodox) and in traditional communities.  In the end, I believe the Eastern churches will save the West from its decay.

The Eastern Church (before the schismatic Orthodox left the Church) was especially rotten during the Arian Crisis (4th century). Almost all of the bishops had become heretics or supported the heresy, so much so that faithful bishops were expelled from their dioceses (e.g. St. Athanasius).

The Church nearly defected 16 centuries ago, but there's the rub ... it didn't, even if humanly speaking things looked hopeless.

What happened to solve this crisis is only something God could have arranged. He allowed an apostate emperor to come to power, intent on destroying the Church, except the visible Church were the Arian heretics. Emperor Justin thus reinstalled the Catholic bishops to supplant the Arians and persecuted mainly the Arians (though some faithful Catholics, too.), such that when he died, he left a Church that was rid of most of the worst of the heresy. A good Catholic emperor took over, and officially denounced Arianism.

If we are scandalized enough to leave the Church by attaching ourselves to the schism of the Eastern Orthodox, then we are ignorant of Church history. We have a fanciful idea that the Church (the immaculate bride of Christ) must be immaculate in Her human elements. Thanks to Original Sin that never has and never will be the case.

The very fact that today we see rot does not mean it's not the Church, any more than seeing a dead Christ on the Cross meant his mission was a failure.

You are right, though. The Roman Church is not the whole Church. It is one of several Churches which make up the one Church under one visible head which is the Vicar of Christ, the Pope. The Pope is both the head of all the Churches, because that office was entrusted by St. Peter to his successor as the Bishop of Rome.

Where you are wrong is to consider those who do not accept this Apostolic- and divinely-established headship as part of the Church. To reject the office and authority of the Papacy is to reject Christ.

To reject the human failings of any one Pope when he is not officially exercising that office and authority is not to reject the Papacy.
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#8
MabgisterMusicae, I like your style. Its refreshing to see a level headed Catholic who knows what the Church teaches and isn't ready to jump ship and join the Orthodox even when the Barque of St. Peter at times close to capsizing. Your responses are always so thorough and well thought out, you seem to always know your logic.
Surréxit Dóminus vere, Alleluia!
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