Sunday, May 8, 2011

VATICAN IV HAS TAKEN PLACE! BUT IT SOUNDS LIKE 1973!

This movie first called "Catholics" and then later renamed "The Conflict" stars Martin Sheen. It was a made for TV movie from 1973. Martin Sheen places a hip, young Vatican IV priest. This dialogue is absolutely wonderful and what a time capsule from this 1973 era and those actual progressive Catholic theologians who must have informed the writers of the this movie said to them. It is a hoot but disturbing since much of what the Sheen character is saying is what "spirit of Vatican II" people, especially theologians were saying. You want to know what the 1970's were like, here it is!!!!!

19 comments:

Bill Meyer said...

Vatican IV is it? One can but wonder what amazing things were done at V-III....

Still, Fr. Kinsella sounds much like the lay staff at my parish.

pinanv525 said...

I am a War Between the States buff and I did not watch "Gettysburg" simply because Sheen played R.E. Lee. A complete insult and slap in the face to anyone with traditional values or an appreciation for Lee. It was almost as bad as having Alec Baldwin play Doolittle in "Pearl Harbor." You know, imagine Lindsay Lohan or Brittney spears playing a nun or one of the Saints.

R. E. Ality said...

Thanks for the warning. Probably not necessary though, because I avoid both Sheens like the plague.

Anonymous said...

There was some science fiction stuff in this same era about the Church that was pretty far out. I think this was in the same vein and Sheen was either too poor or stupid at the time to turn it down. Sheen is from Dayton and while it is a nice town I have wondered at times how some folk's brains can make their own legs work. He is a wonderful actor, though. I became a fan of him as an actor when I saw 'That Championship Season'. We get recordings from him at times that are played aloud in Mass encouraging us to give to various appeals. We also contributed Sister Dorothy Stang to the cause of social justice. There is a pub I like where many of the Brothers and Sisters associated with those efforts like to hang out. There is a weekly event called 'Drinking Liberally' where people gather to discuss topics near and dear to Liberal Hearts. Church topics are usually included. There is a certain Carollian atmosphere - Lewis, not the Bishop - where the teachings of the Church are used to heard everyone into line on some topics, but openly questioned in others. I will let you guess which they are. Everyone is very friendly, I think they believe I am a Pete Seeger fan since I bring a banjo to the open mic nights. Martin Sheen is highly regarded and many there can quote extensively from The West Wing.

rcg

Robert Kumpel said...

I've seen this film before. What particularly strikes me about it is its ability to re-create the vacated, abandoned, empty feeling I got when everything we had been taught was being systematically rebuked by the nuns at my Catholic elementary school who had ditched their lay-clothes.

Robert Kumpel said...

OOps, I meant ditched their habits (clothing and everything else)

Anonymous said...

That is a telling statement, RK. It seems odd that there would be enough popular support for the 'reforms' unless there was a huge population of dissenters already in the religious life. It is particularly strange that this would be focused among nuns and sisters as well as senior clergy prepared to take leadership roles. The only explanation is that the people were already in those organisations in large numbers. What I think is an artifact of this is the architecture of churches built in the 1950s. This decade is often thought of as the last of the innocent decades, but I think instead it was the nursery of the progressive and liberal larvae that burst forth to infest our culture. My own church was built in 1957 and has that sterile, almost non denominational appearance that Fr Mac puts on this site. The stained glass has only the most basic geometric shapes that are arranged in such abstract manners that they do not invoke any sort of association with any religion, much less Catholicism. It has been remodeled, but is still as reminiscent of a chapel in a hospital as anything else.

If Vatican II produced guidance that is consistent with what we are seeing in B XVI's celebrations then it was available back then as well. It could be that such an extensive body of work could take years for even the authors to digest, I can't help but think that Benedictine altar arrangement, e.g., would have been found back then as well. Again, the only answer is that significant number of people were already in place to exploit Vatican II and create a rupture with the past. Who were the people running the seminaries and who were in positions of authority by 1960? The ground work had been laid in the 1950s.

Many of the bishops, for example, who entered religious life about that time are now in their 70's. In human terms the people who were in the fullness of their years in 1965 to about 1970 had entered religious life in the 1920s, the heyday of Dorothy Day and similar activists. I am aware that Sister Dorothy held great devotion to many traditions, but I am also convinced she, perhaps unwittingly, blurred the lines of social responsibility and political activism and weakened the Church as a result. I think the same thing, although more virulently, happened in Central and South America with Liberation Theology.

The current pope is in a very interesting situation, one I think he was fully aware of many years ago. I also think most of us are only vaguely aware of the strategy he is executing at this time and how long this has been going on.

My wife says that the parish is concerned that many of the 'old timers' will leave when the new missal is in effect. I laughed and reminded her that many of those old timers were at Woodstock, so they are still the radicals, just a lot of grey mixed with the tie dyed shirts.

rcg

pinanv525 said...

RCG, "Banjos? We don't need no stinkin' banjos."

Surely, a penance in Purgatory will be listening to liberals play banjos and discuss the Church. You need to find another hang out. People will begin to talk...

Robert Kumpel said...

Fortunately, I've been spared the auditory insult of banjos at Mass--but not electric guitars and drums.

I quite agree that in the 1950's the dissent was already in place in the minds of many who would take leadership roles in the Church. This really shouldn't surprise anyone, however, since the misguided notions of "updating" the Church were being fostered long before the 1950's. Just read the encyclicals of St. Pius X. He knew what was coming.

romishgraffiti said...

How hard would it be to turn this clip into a YouTube? I use WordPress and it hates any player that isn't YouTube. I'm typing up an entry on my blog on this.

Anonymous said...

So how did the Conflict get resolved?

Frajm said...

I can't remember the ending but I think the traditionalists lose! I don't know hoe to put this video on youtube.

Robert Kumpel said...

As I remember it, the abbot of the monastery (isn't it Trevor Howard?) finally admits that he doesn't know how to pray anymore. I believe Sheen leaves for the Vatican, where he will recommend shutting down the monastery, and in the final scene, the abbot is seen desperately leading his fellow monks in reciting the Our Father.

You'd probably be better off looking up the movie review online rather than taking my word for it.

Anonymous said...

As I recall Trevor Howard tells Sheen that he has not prayed in years because his crisis of faith is so profound he goes into a funk and that should he ever pray again he would never come out of it. The Vatican police, or something like that, show up to straighten out the wayward monks who hole up in the chapel to pray. Howard leads the prayer, quivering in fear that he will get so depressed he will never recover. At that point a miracle occurred and the director ran out of film.

The acting is actually very good, but I had a heck of a time following it. I do recall the gibberish about Vatican III and IV, and thought "When did that happen?" then I realised it was part of the fiction.

rcg

Anonymous said...

RK is correct. I think I confused the really cool helicopter Sheen used to fly around in for some police force. It was very distracting for me as I was more accustomed to seeing a priest in a ten year old Chrysler and wondered where Sheen got the money.

I like that, idea, though, that the monk forgot how to pray. Very prescient.

rcg

Nancy A. said...

I am old enough to have seen the movie but never did. I found the clip both interesting and disturbing. Interesting because it is such an accurate time capsule of 1970's liberal thinking; disturbing because that nonsense hasn't completely gone away. Whatever the dynamics behind the 'liberalization' of Vatican II (I found the above comments very interesting and informative), I'm just grateful the pendulum seems to be swinging the other way.

Anonymous said...

I found a copy of this movie on DVD at Walmart, of all places a couple of years ago!


NEMO

Anonymous said...

This seems like a distopian movie, like Mad Max. This scene felt like Trevor Howard was going persuade Martin Sheen. What was the point of the movie?
Its hard to believe Trevor Howard could not remember how to pray if he was leading a counter-revolution toward the traditional.

JMan said...

Wow! Just, wow!