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...
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.