Tuesday, August 7, 2012

DON'T THROW THE BABY OUT WITH THE BATHWATER




Down below these preliminary remarks, I post a comment I made from the "Heterodoxy" post and two comments made in reaction to it.

I want to be clear that as a Catholic priest in good standing with the Church, that I accept Vatican II and all its documents. Of course Vatican II is a pastoral council so much of it will be pastoral in nature and thus not dogmatic. The Church of today is very different than the Church in which Vatican II took place.

I firmly believe some renewal was needed and that Vatican II has all that is necessary for the renewal. The problem is that once people are given an inch, they take a mile. Many in the Church's leadership, bishops, priests and men and women religious took light year miles in advancing thier causes. This is what has had a delerterous effect on the Church to this day in addition to all the societal and cultural changes that are independent of the Church.

However, the Church prior to Vatican II had a "circle the wagons" mentality to protect it from the Protestant Reformation. But the type of godless secularism that is much more dangereous for Catholics needs to be acknowledged and protection from it is necessary. There should be a greater fear of godless secularism compared to Reformed Protestantism.

The Church has had a two thousand year history and there is always great fomment and great strife after Ecumenical Councils and when there is religious, political and social upheaval.

I would just say that we should be more cautious than our reforming forebears who often threw the baby out with the bathwater in implementing what they thought was the spirit of Vatican II. We don't want to throw out the baby with the bathwater of what Vatican II actually desire for the Church.

Pope Benedict's approach to Vatican II is the healthiest approach we've hand since the Council. Let's get behind His Holiness on this.

Blogger Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

One has to keep in mind that if the Extraordinary Form of the Mass did such a wonderful job of making for truly staunch Catholics, how is it that so many so easily abandoned not only it, but obedience to the faith and a fear of hell within a matter of a decade or less? These were pre-VAtican II Catholics who did this. Was there something intrinsically flawed about the dogmatism of the pre-Vatican II Church, over emphasis on externals and a pharisaic obsession with rules to the lack of a personal faith, and love for others that made many Catholics just down right mean spirited sorts of people? Just asking? I knew many pre-Vatican II Catholics who were quite fed up with being treated like children in Church, having to have "actual participation" passively and being caught up more with the letter of the law rather than its spirit. Many of them are in my family and felt liberated by Vatican II but then went in the other extreme.
Seems to me that the proper balance is needed, not the denial of our pre-Vatican II experiences and faith, especially that which was good and holy and not the denigration of Vatican II altogether since there is much good and holy there in much of the reforms many of which just went too far and eroded the faith of so many.

August 7, 2012 8:59 AM


Blogger Marc said...

That's a tough question, Father. Let me respond by pointing this out from your own comment:

People in your family were fed up with being treated like children in Church, with the way the did not participate at Mass, and with following the Law.

You see the difference? Prior to Vatican II, people might have had complaints, but they remained in the Church. After Vatican II, when people have complaints, they just stop going or go elsewhere.

Why? Because the Church's hierarcy ceased to present the Church as the bulwark of Truth and the sole Ark of Salvation. People like it easy and are selfish. Catholicism is difficult and selfless. Being a hedonist, Baptist, Methodist, you name it, is much easier than being a Catholic - so, when priests and bishops give the impression that false religions are just as good, well, why not take the easier route and ditch all that "Catholic guilt?"

That's a simplification to be certain. But, people are pretty simple when you get right down to it.

August 7, 2012 9:18 AM


Blogger Anonymous 5 said...

Fr. McD,

Good points. It raises the question of what would have happened to Mass attendance in the late '60s and '70s had there been no (or more restrained) liturgical changes.

My guess is that if Rome had stuck to its guns--had Paul VI kept churning out encyclicals after Humanae Vitae and actually disciplined and excommunicated dissidents, and had we kept the Anglicized version of the Tridentine Mass rather than going on to the NO--you may have seen the same declines. But I bet you would also have seen the modernist element leave the Church to a much greater degree, rather than staying and trying (with considerable success) to subvert it. The heretics only stayed within the institutional Church because they realized that the orthodox leaders of the day, when not fellow travelers, weren't going to oppose them and they could have their way. Better for them to have left. We's have a much easier job of reclaiming things today if they'd done so.

29 comments:

rcg said...

I challenge your post and the responses on a key point: Vatican II did not spring, Venus-like, from the sea, it was not revealed. Rather it is, IMO, a summary if not an actual codification of the century of preceding challenges to the Church and her teaching.

Marc said...

Fr. McDonald said: "I firmly believe some renewal was needed and that Vatican II has all that is necessary for the renewal."

Why was a renewal needed?

In what ways, specifically, has Vatican II provided all that is necessary for that renewal?

Specifically, what other Ecumenical Councils resulted in foment and great strife?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

This is from an Orthodox Church perspective, but there were several ecumenical councils in a row for about the first 500 years of the Church which indicates a great deal of foment and strife in the Church:

http://www.goholycross.org/studies/councils.html

Then in the early part of the 20th century we had in Europe to major world wars and the rise of fascism and Nazism that seduced many in the Church to either actively participate in the plan of the government or to passively look the other way. This is the greatest mar on the pre-Vatican II Church.

Marc said...

There was certainly a great deal of foment and strife in the Church in times surrounding Ecumneical Councils, but none of them could really be said to have caused that foment and strife. Even the eventual schism between with the Orthodox was not caused by a Council... in fact, at least two councils were called in an effort to repair that situation!

I read you to say that prior Councils had caused foment and strife. I believe Vatican II is the only Council to result in a 75% decrease in Mass attendance within a span of forty years, but I am not an historian or statistician.

As for this idea that somehow pre-Vatican II Catholicism led the faithful to be seduced by fascism. That is simply an unfounded connection. I can point to just as many post-Vatican II "Catholics" who are currently being seduced by the very same thing. I could also point to Catholics throughout history that have died to fight against fascism (Cristeros, anyone?).

Finally, if Nazism and the threat of fascism seducing the faithful was a good reason to call an Ecumenical Council (and I agree it would have been, particularly if Communism were included), then why did the Second Vatican Council utterly fail to discuss fascism, nazism, communism, nuclear armament, and any number of other things, such as globalized economics, poverty, mass media, widespread warfare, contraception, abortion, liberalism, progressivism, that would have actually been pertinent to the Catholic Faith as it confronts "modernity"?

So, I contend that, no, Vatican II has none of the answers needed for renewal in the Church or outside the Church. In fact, not only does VII not have any answers, it only has more questions!

Andy Milam said...

Father,

You state, "However, the Church prior to Vatican II had a "circle the wagons" mentality to protect it from the Protestant Reformation. But the type of godless secularism that is much more dangereous for Catholics needs to be acknowledged and protection from it is necessary. There should be a greater fear of godless secularism compared to Reformed Protestantism."

I must disagree with you. The godless secularism is easy enough to deal with...the Church conquered that once before you know. However, reformed Protestantism is a completely new concept which has wrought upon God's creation so much strife and disdain for the Church which Christ gave to the whole of humanity.

When we look at modern godless secularism, it comes directly from reformed Protestantism. For ultimately what is Protestantism if it is not humanism veiled with the trappings of religion. The so-called enlightenment found it's roots in Protestant Europe and gained it's foothold not by causing Catholics to abandon Catholicism, but rather by coercing Protestants to stop believing in that which is true. In other words to take off the veil of relgious trappings and expose humanism in it's fullest sense.

As I see it Father, Vatican Council II, addressed nothing. All it did was to allow the liberals a forum in which they could complete their ideology. John XXIII gave them the stage and Paul VI let them dance on it. Thankfully, the dance is winding down.

We, as Catholics, should be circling the Wagons. We should be protecting the Faith, because that is what we are called to do. We are called to Catechize the Catholic and the Protestant. We are called to be ecumenical with the Orthodox and we are called to evangelize the non-Christian (pagan). This is how we have circled the wagons in all of history. It is how we should do it today.

Vatican Council II, while being a Council did nothing to further Catholicism. It simply was. It did nothing to help the Catholic achieve the 3 ends of which I just spoke. In the end, Vatican Council II was a non-starter, because there was nothing started...except the liberal mindset being forced upon the average Catholic during the reforms after the Council. And that was harmful.

You go on to say, "The Church has had a two thousand year history and there is always great fomment and great strife after Ecumenical Councils and when there is religious, political and social upheaval."

There was no foment and strife after most Councils. The path was straight and the vision was clear. Dogma was defined and Doctrine was made to be understood. While there was a curve to application, because of the correspondence of the time, that does not equate to foment. There was a clear understanding of what must take place. And a new Catholic Renaissance became the norm, until the need for another Council in 1870.

Father, don't misunderstand, I think that Catholics should be Catholics. I just think that Protestants should be too. That is our goal and Vatican Council II just didn't account for that. And that is the great downfall of the latest Council.

Gene said...

I think Andy and Marc have stated things very well...now, if you want to talk about 19th century Neo-Protestantism...don't get me started.

Henry Edwards said...

I firmly believe some renewal was needed and that Vatican II has all that is necessary for the renewal.

Then, Fr. McDonald, you should be able to point to a specific area where renewal of faith or devotion or liturgy was needed, and where tangible improvement has occurred as a result of Vatican II. Can you? Your faithful followers here are all ears!

"The Church has had a two thousand year history and there is always great fomment and great strife after Ecumenical Councils"

Can you point to a single historical example to substantiate the inference that previous councils have actually caused great foment and strive? As Vatican II plainly did. Surely, no previous Council has resulted (whether directly or indirectly) in a loss of faith and devotion within the Church. Before Vatican II, not a single one, so far as I know.

Henry Edwards said...

"if the Extraordinary Form of the Mass did such a wonderful job of making for truly staunch Catholics, how is it that so many so easily abandoned not only it, but obedience to the faith and a fear of hell within a matter of a decade or less?"

Here's an answer from one with pre-Vatican II experience as an adult, whose inquiring mind (even then, first as a Protestant) wanted to know what made Catholicism the success that it visibly was.

Precisely because of strength of faith and instilled confidence in Christ and His Church--that it could never lead the faithful astray--many Catholics followed obediently when it did lead them astray after Vatican II. Once a few leaks were sprung in the wall of faith, its very solidity facilitated its complete erosion.

Because of the unchangeable fallen nature of man, all too many were glad to follow priests who assured that Mass attendance was no longer required, previous sins no longer were, the previous obligations no longer binding, etc. Priests and nuns themselves were glad to accept seemingly legitimate release from their own bonds of obedience. And bishops similarly approved after Vatican II things they would not have approved at the Council itself.

So ironically, it was the very success of pre-Vatican II inculcation that facilitated the Church's post-Vatican II demise at the hands of destructive forces centering on activists who gained control of the implementation of the Council. The Church's hierarchical structure--which had enabled its survival intact for so many centuries, now enabled a small corps of dissenters within to propagate chaos down from the top, whence order had been propagated previously.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

For me and for the vast majority of Catholics, the vernacular Mass and active participation, eternal and internal together have been wonderful. As a teenager, Mass for the first time facing the people was great (but keep in mind this was still the EF Mass with all its rubrics especially for the Roman Canon, which was still in Latin). The expanded lectionary with all the Old Testament readings has been great.
Relgious life, especially for women religious was so rigorous and needed some internal updating--of course they went to far with that.

Our relationships with Protestants and other religions has been good and helpful, especially in the south. I appreciate looking at Protestants as a part of the Church but not in full communion.

It's the extremes that have caused the deleterious effects in the Church, extremes not intended by Vatican II, but we're only 50 years out and a consolidation is taking place "brick by brick."

Andy Milam said...

Father,

"For me and for the vast majority of Catholics, the vernacular Mass and active participation, eternal and internal together have been wonderful."

Vast majority? Come now Father, that is a bit of a stretch. If the vast majority of Catholics like the vernacular, why is Traditionalism the fastest growing segment of the Church since 1984? A scant 19 years after the close of the Council? That is a bit of an overstatement in my eyes.

Many of the older Catholics of your day would disagree. It was said while I was in college that:

Traditionalism is for the very old and the very young, but what do they know, one is out of touch and one can't reach high enough to touch yet.

That was said when I was part of the "very young." I can tell you that the majority of my peers (ages 18-49) who take Catholicism seriously are not clamoring for the Novus Ordo. We are demanding the TLM, and the very old, well they appreciate us for doing that. You know this to be so, look at the path that the Vatican has taken in the last 28 years.

"I appreciate looking at Protestants as a part of the Church but not in full communion."

So, it begs the question, how do we get them back into full communion? We must do a better job with the Protestants than we have done with our fellow Catholics (a'la SSPX). The answer to this question, Father is proper, strong and metered catechesis, based not on the whims of the 1930-1960s, but rather through the reality of the Church from the birth of Christ until today.

"It's the extremes that have caused the deleterious effects in the Church, extremes not intended by Vatican II..."

Yes, the reforms after Vatican Council II. The abandonment of devotions. The abandonment of rigorous Catholic training. The abandonment of our own identity in favor of something which is best described as "ecumenical." The abandonment of a proper understanding, implementation and teaching of our Holy and Divine Sacraments. There is something to be said for traditional Catholic piety.

While discipline doesn't hold the same force as dogma, there is meaning for it and behind it. To abandon the discipline of being Catholic in favor of "dialogue" has cost us everything and gained us nothing.

My thought...quit talking and start teaching. That is what we must do as Catholics. Dialogue solves nothing, but teaching brings about understanding. But then again, that is how the dance changed and we can thank John XXIII and Paul VI for that now can't we, Father?

Yes, brick by brick. Everyone needs to pick one up and put it back EXACTLY where it was before. That is the ONLY way we will be able to bring that number of Catholics you speak of, back to a vast number.

AMDG+

Henry Edwards said...

The final piece of the puzzle is where it all came from. Again, it's the fallen nature of man. The early Councils were all called to deal with heresies within the Church. Some of the same heresies arose again in the so-called enlightenment, and the Reformation led mostly to the dissenters leaving the Church. In the 19th century, dissent and heresy again began to brew within the Church, but this time continued to burrow within throughout the first half of the 20th century.

Even so, the Church seemed so confident and successful in the 1950s that Pope John XXIII called Vatican II not because of any perceived or expressed need for renewal within, but for the purpose of opening the windows to go out and triumphantly conquer the world for Christ.

(Here again, the retroactively expressed view of a need for renewal of the pre-conciliar Church is essentially a rewriting of history. It imposes upon the Council a view that was not contemporaneously felt by the Church as a whole. Vatican II simply was not called to renew the Church within, but to orient it to go without and export its very success to the larger world.)

However, those burrowed forces of dissent largely gained control of the machinery of the Council, resulting in ambiguity in the conciliar documents that were written so as to gain the approval of traditional bishops who predominated, but nevertheless serve their nefarious purpose when these same forces exceeded even their own expectations by gaining complete control of the post-conciliar implementation, aided by a perfect storm of social chaos that enabled them to exploit what we might now call "community organization" techniques to (as Cardinal Ratzinger has mentioned) circumvent those hierarchical barriers that still existed.

Marc said...

Father, while you are certainly, like all of us, entitled to your viewpoint, the things you see as positive results of Vatican II are the very spirit of VII things you have decried on this blog, are only subjectively better, or are essentially not in line with the "pre-Conciliar" Magisterium.

"Mass for the first time facing the people was great (but keep in mind this was still the EF Mass with all its rubrics especially for the Roman Canon, which was still in Latin)."

Spirit of Vatican II and not in the documents. Also, we know that the vast majority of Catholics stopped going to Mass with the advent of the vernacular...

"The expanded lectionary with all the Old Testament readings has been great."

Subjective opinion. In fact, a compelling case can be made the new lectionary is extremely deficient and dangerous in its editing. Moreover, it stripped the Church of a beloved and meaningful one year lectionary.

"Our relationships with Protestants and other religions has been good and helpful, especially in the south. I appreciate looking at Protestants as a part of the Church but not in full communion."

This attitude has essentially led many in the Church to be overlaxed in terms of actual ecumenical activity (i.e., getting Prots to convert to the True Faith). As for the whole "part of the Church" partial Communion thing, it is nearly impossible to reconcile that with the pre-Conciliar Magisterium.

Henry Edwards said...

"For me and for the vast majority of Catholics, the vernacular Mass and active participation, eternal and internal together have been wonderful."

You may well think--as I (an intense devotee and daily student of the vernacular texts) tend to--that some vernacular in the Mass was desirable then and may be even more so now.

But would you really suggest that any "wonderful" effect on faith and devotion, or any increase in "actual participation" (prayerful and spiritual, as the term actuosa participatio is properly understood), has resulted? Surely not!

I asked whether you could "point to a specific area where ... tangible improvement has occurred as a result of Vatican II". We're still all ears.

Andy Milam said...

Henry Edwards,

"But would you really suggest that any "wonderful" effect on faith and devotion, or any increase in "actual participation" (prayerful and spiritual, as the term actuosa participatio is properly understood), has resulted?"

It is so good to be on the same page! Yes, this is an important question for any traddy to ask a neo-con.

The sad fact is that Vatican Council II hijacked and re-imagined the very idea of participatio actuosa. Full, conscious and active participation is not first doing something, nor is it ever doing anything at all, but rather it is to worship with our whole heart, our whole soul and our whole mind. Any ejaculation will come only secondarily...

And that we have lost. The vernacular is such a vulgar language in this instance...there is no proper way to convey participatio actuosa, properly.

Kudos.

Anonymous 2 said...

I have asked before whether it might be helpful for Catholics actually to study the documents of Vatican II under proper guidance. In response some commentators have pointed me towards various resources, for which I am grateful. However, I have not yet had much time to follow up and, again, would appreciate some structured teaching about Vatican II.

My instincts about the value of this have been confirmed again tonight. I read with interest, but also with some perplexity, Marc’s comment (at 11:35 a.m.) asking “why did the Second Vatican Council utterly fail to discuss fascism, nazism, communism, nuclear armament, and any number of other things, such as globalized economics, poverty, mass media, widespread warfare, contraception, abortion, liberalism, progressivism, that would have actually been pertinent to the Catholic Faith as it confronts ‘modernity’?” Marc’s comment puzzled me because I felt sure Vatican II must have addressed such questions.

So, I pulled my copy of the Vatican II Documents from my shelves and have just read through very quickly (more accurately, scanned) the Vatican II document “Gaudiem et Spes” (Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World) of which I had of course heard but not yet read. Unless I am gravely mistaken, this document does indeed address many of the matters Marc mentions and seems to do so profoundly. In fact, I cannot wait to get the time to study it further.

So, instead of constant criticism of Vatican II, why don’t we accept that, yes, it may indeed have been misunderstood, even “hijacked,” in its implementation but, as Father suggests, let’s not “throw the baby out with the bathwater.” Or, at least before we do so, let’s find out exactly what we are throwing out. I for one thirst for more knowledge about what the Council truly said, about previous teachings of the magisterium, and about possible conflicts between the Council and those previous teachings; and I would welcome impartial and objective instruction regarding these matters. It is very hard to form an opinion about all these things on one’s own. At least it is for me because, as I have said before, such matters are well beyond my pay grade.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

One may personally not like (pride) everything contained in the documents of Vatican II but to call them illicit or not a part of the magisterium of the Church to which every Catholic who is orthodox knows they must make some kind of respectful assent, makes one who does not heterodox pure and simple. The documents of Vatican II are marvelous; its the spirit of Vatican II that is highly suspect and some of the interpretations of it.

Anonymous said...

Anon2:

Gaudium et Spes does mention many of the things I listed. It does not do so with profundity. While discussing some of these things, it fails to actually address any of them. Does it condemn fascism or communism as one would expect from an Ecumenical Council called during the middle of the Cold War? Maybe you and I have a different definition of "addressing". I think it means, in this context, condemning evil and promoting good (that is, God and the Church). So, I should have said it utterly failed to address these things instead of utterly failed to discuss. It discusses, but does not address.

Instead, here is a nice little gem from that document;

"Thus we are witnesses of the birth of a new humanism, one in which man is defined first of all by this responsibility to his brothers and to history."

A humanism defined by man, not God. Sure. There is no problem with the content of this document... Only it's spirit.

Anyway, go read Gaudium et Spes and then come back and explain for us how the Chuch is going to confront modernity. As Fr. McDonald said, the documents themselves contain ALL that is needed for renewal. So it should be pretty easy for you to do so.

I look forward to seeing what you come up with.

Marc

Anonymous 2 said...

Marc,

I was not trying to pick a fight with you, although perhaps my comments came across that way. If so, I apologize.

As you know, I am an educator. That means a few things now for me. First, it means that the more I learn, the less I realize I know. Trite perhaps, but true nevertheless. Second, and related, I remain a student, always trying to learn new things and fill the large gaps in my knowledge. Third, as I make my own journeys of discovery, I try to share what I have learned, and am still learning, with others. Those are my instincts, inclinations, and sensibilities now.

So, when I read your comment and intuitively had doubts about what you appeared to be saying, I checked in my text of the Vatican II documents. From what I gleaned from skimming “Gaudiem et Spes” your comment that the Council “utterly fail[ed] to discuss” the matters you mentioned did indeed seem to be in need of some correction. I was concerned that some readers might take it literally, as I had done. I am sorry I did not at the time understand the more nuanced sense in which you now explain your phraseology.

I think I made it clear that I was leaving open any ultimate judgment about the status or value of Vatican II. As I said, that is above my pay grade. I also think I made it clear that I needed help understanding the Documents and how they fit into our larger Catholic tradition. And again I said such matters are above my pay grade. That is why I was requesting structured guidance. I need help in studying these matters properly. So, I am grateful to Father McDonald for posting the article by Father Fox, for example.

I did use the word “profoundly” in my comments. It did indeed_seem_ to me from my very quick read of certain passages that the Council addressed the matters in question with some profundity. However, I might very well be wrong about that.

If I get time later today, I will do as you ask and take a closer look at Gaudiem et Spes to see if I can respond adequately to your request. But please remember, I am still learning and possess no qualifications to give any kind of authoritative opinion. That is for people like Father McDonald and for the magisterium. But I will do what I can to identify passages that appear pertinent and to ask relevant questions.

Marc said...

Anon2:

I apologize for my curt response. I was likewise not attempting to pick a fight with you and I did not interpret your response in that way.

I also apologize for my lack of precise word choice. You are clearly correct that Gaudium et Spes addressed things like the family, economics, warfare, and politics. I read selections of that document this morning prior to replying to your post and I was struck its lack of insight and its elementary perspective on those topics it discusses. So, in that regard, I would be genuinely interested to hear which aspects you consider profound.

The document is considered by some to be suspect due to its comingling Catholic doctrine and humanism to a heretofore unknown degree. That is the way I read the document. It also lacks the insight, precision, and authoritative tone of papal documents issued on similar subjects in the preceding fifty to one hundred years.

My point, then, is addressed more at Fr. McDonald's assertion than yours: this document, for example, does not contain "all" that is necessary for renewal. Moreover, I disagree with his idea that the spirit and not the documents are the problem (while recognizing, again, that many aspects of these documents are doctrinally correct while possibly being somewhat banal).

I believe aspects of the documents themselves are the problem, but I have addressed that numerous times in my comments on this blog (and as a result have been labeled by my own pastor a heretic [i.e., heterodox] and a schismatic). I concede, however, that I am unable to properly interpret these documents. Therefore, I rely on our Holy Father's exegetical advise: If I want to know what the Church teaches, I refer to the Roman Catechism or the Baltimore Catechism, not out of rebellion against the neo-Catechism, but because I need the clarity provided by earlier documents. Which brings me to my conclusion that the Vatican II documents are the problem if for no other reason than their vagueness, which as lawyers we can understand is a significant problem in itself. (Again, though, I contend that there are problems with the documents beyond their vagueness, but I understand those who are "afraid" to make such a statement."

Anonymous 2 said...

Thanks, Marc.

I have spent about an hour today reading in Gaudiem et Spes. Of course, I really need to spend much longer than that to form a properly considered opinion, not about substantive points of contention (once again, above my pay grade) but about the Document’s profundity.

My own preliminary view remains that it is a profound document in the way in which it recognizes the existential situation of modernity and attempts to provide a faithful – and effective – response to that situation. I could get more specific but am not sure it would be productive to do so for two main reasons. First, I have the impression that the Document should be read as a whole in order to gain a proper sense of it. Second, I suspect that profundity may be in the eye of the beholder. We would have to articulate the criteria for profundity that we are respectively using. Those might be different. And even if they were the same, we might still apply them differently to the facts of the document. So, we might both sincerely come to different judgments about profundity.

In saying this, I am not trying to duck your question. I would urge that people read the Document for themselves and come to their own conclusions regarding the profundity issue.

As for vagueness, well we know that vagueness is sometimes a necessary evil (in texts negotiated by committees, or judicial panels, whose members have to compromise to obtain assent, for example) and sometimes a positive boon (to allow for proper and legitimate – and I emphasize those two words – interpretation in light of better information, developing circumstances, etc). Of course, sometimes matters do not work out as intended or, as some have darkly suggested on this Blog, they do work out exactly as intended – a judgment that is, yet again, above my pay grade.

Gene said...

Gaudium et Spes, in its reference to humanism, essentially says that the end of man is man. That is the implication. Now, as a former Presbyterian minister and student of Reformation theology, perhaps I have less trepidation than cradle Catholics in stating categorically that this is (auf Deutsch a la Luther) "Stier Dunger."

Anonymous 2 said...

Yes, I noticed the references to humanism, Gene. But I have to ask myself how they should be read in the context of the document as a whole. As I mentioned, I had the distinct impression that it is necessary to read Gaudiem et Spes as a whole to get a proper sense of it. I have not yet had the opportunity to do that. Have you done that? If so, how do these references read in context?

P.S. Did Luther really say that? =)

Gene said...

Anon 5, Luther did not say it in reference to humanism. He also used the earthier "Stier Scheiss." He said it in reference to the "decrees and decretals" of Pope Leo X when he referred to them as the "excrees and excretals" of the Pope...if you must know...LOL!

Although I have not read Gaudium et Spes in its entirety, I do not need to in order to note a very disturbing statement within it. Even in light of the whole document, the implication here remains problematic and stands out like a Priest in a whore house...since we are using earthy similes...LOL!

Marc said...

Anon2, since you have committed to do so, I will likewise go back and re-read the entirety of Gaudium et Spes.

In perusing it yesterday, it came across as an essay a high schooler or college student would write on the subject of "World Peace." But, perhaps as an educator, you are a bit more forgiving in reviewing others' writing than I. If so, I wish I had taken some of your classes, as I believe you teach at Mercer Law and I am a Mercer Law grad (correct me if I'm wrong).

I do hope I can speak more precisely about this document once I have re-read it completely. Since I will be on vacation next week, I should have time! #catholicvacation

:-)

Gene said...

Marc, An Irish Catholic vacation usually involves Confession and Penance after...be have! LOL!

Marc said...

I think I will be taking my parents (not Catholic, somewhat not Christian) to their first Missa Cantata for the Feast of the Assumption. Otherwise, they may go to a Low Mass on Tuesday or Thursday with me.

Please pray for my family's conversion that the graces from the Holy Sacrifice will find fertile soil.

Aside from that, I am certain there will be some "Irish Catholic"-style discussion, Gene! Or maybe some "Scotch"-style discussion, if you catch my meaning!

rcg said...

Gene, thanks for the Teutonic clarification. All this time I thought Luther was ranting about 'theses'.

Anonymous 2 said...

Good analogy, Gene. Or like Jesus among prostitutes. Yes, I agree, context is everything. Marc and I are looking forward to exploring the context provided by a holistic reading of Gaudiem et Spes and we can then report back on our impressions regarding precisely in what sense the Church Fathers who authored Gaudiem et Spes are present in the “whorehouse” of humanism.

Marc, you are not wrong. I would have enjoyed having you in my classes. I know I would have learned from you, as I trust you would have learned some things from me too. I think I can see how your perusal of Gaudiem et Spes might have created the impression it did. I was trying to read it, however, in light of a two thousand year plus natural law tradition that includes Aristotle, the Stoics (among whom I will include Cicero), and St. Thomas, and of critics of modernity such as Spengler and Heidegger (the latter a more recent acquaintance). Perhaps I was “over-reading” it. We will see.

I like it, rcg.

Carol H. said...

LOL!!!!