Sunday, August 26, 2012

IF THE CHURCH IS ALWAYS IN NEED OF REFORM, HOW MUCH MORE FOR A COUNCIL, THE SECOND VATICAN COUNCIL TO BE SPECIFIC

The type of reform James Carroll has in mind isn't what I have in mind!













This is what most think when they think of reform and specifically the reform of the Second Vatican Council:




Is the Second Vatican Council some kind of sacred cow that can't be reformed? I ask this in all seriousness. The reason why I ask this is that we all have been taught since the Second Vatican Council that the Church is always in need of reform. Since a council, specifically the Second Vatican Council is but a small part of the Church, should not that old adage also apply to the Second Vatican Council?

There are FIVE areas where the Second Vatican Council could use some reform. They are:

1. Sacrosanctum Concilium--it needs to be revisited according the the Extraordinary Form and then its "suggestions" critiqued and then applied anew to the EF Mass and in a very conservative way. This will take years to do. Just keep in mind how long it took us to get the new English translation of the Mass--more than 25 years! Of course to facilitate this critque the Holy Father could add to the option of the 1962 Missal, its slight reform in the vernacular of the 1965 missal. That would be a stroke of genius and reduce the years that it would take to reform Sacrosanctum Concilium and give us a more modest reformed Mass.

2. The Church's dialogue with the secular world needs to be nuanced and refined, if not reformed to make clear that the Church is meant to bring Christ to the secular, not the secular to Christ and His Church.

3. Ecumenism and Interfaith relations need to be reformed accord to the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith's decrees of recent decades and this which you can read by pressing HERE.

4. Religious Life needs a serious reform of the reform too. The future of Religious Life is not the LCWR and its New Age version of schismatic religious life, but rather of the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious who are smaller in numbers, but far, far younger and more vibrant and garnering far more new vocations of young women compared to the LCWR which is moribund. You can read an excellent article on the future reform of Religious Life From USA Today by pressing HERE!

5. There might need to be some nuances in terms of "Religious Liberty" too.

Some odds and ends:

1. I just celebrated a wedding for two parishioners of mind as a "destination" wedding at Amelia Island, Florida, to be specific, at St. Michael's Church, Fernandina Beach Florida. This is the view from my hotel room:
















2. His Eminence Raymond Cardinal Burke has gone to my mom's home town of Livorno, Italy in lovely and romantic Tuscany to celebrate the EF Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of Montenero which is right above Livorno (Leghorn) and a wonderful area that my mom and her family would often visit to get away from things. You can read about it HERE.














3. On Monday, August 27 I go to Raleigh, North Carolina for a continuing education conference for the Province of Atlanta. It features Father Robert Barron! I can't wait. I return to the parish in Macon late Wednesday.





25 comments:

rcg said...

I suppose the reform of the reform will take years because people are too hard headed to either admit they messed up, or to reset to sometime in 1962 and review all the documents since then and jettison the ones that are weak. I can't say we will ever know if The Smoke influenced the Second Council to create a weak document that allowed confusion (my opinion UFN) or the The Smoke got in through poorly thought out documents. Either way, the results are the same, it's Smokey in here and we need to air things out.

As far as the destination wedding: I sort of did the same thing. I took a week off and we got married, got in the car in the Church parking lot and headed west. Been on the road now for 30 years. Great Honeymoon.

Teresa said...

Hi Father,

You're coming to my town on Monday. Be sure to visit Sacred Heart Cathedral which has the rather dubious distinction of being the smallest cathedral in the country. Although small, it is a beautiful church.

Yankee Padre said...

Teresa,

There might be a few Alaskans who would challenge you on that claim:

http://www.juneaucathedral.org/aboutus.htm

Your present cathedral is a gem. The plans for the new cathedral are ambitious and I very much look forward to hearing about the progress.

God bless!

Andy Milam said...

Fr. McD;

Interesting post...I have a couple of thoughts.

You say, "Is the Second Vatican Council some kind of sacred cow that can't be reformed?"

It's a Council, there is nothing to reform. The purpose of every Council prior to Vatican Council II was to define dogma or to eradicate heresy. The purpose of Vatican Council II was to be pastoral. I don't see how you can reform such a subjective notion, "of being pastoral." It simply isn't necessary.

What is necessary though, is not to reform, but to clarify the positions of the Council, in light of 2000 years of Church history, not simply in the scope of the tumultuous 1960s and immediately following.

As for your 5 points....interesting that you bring those up. If I may:

1. The liturgy
2. Religious liberty/tolerance
3. Ecumenism
4. Reform of the Religious life
5. See, point 2

That is essentially what you're saying. Here is what is interesting:

1. The Mass
2. Religious Tolernance
3. Ecumenism
4. The Magisterium of Vatican Council II

Those are the concerns of the SSPX. Your concerns Father are almost exactly the same as the SSPX. I think that you do share their concern for the Magisterium of Vatican Council II, but rather than say it, you call for "reforms in the Council." Essentially the same thing.

What I see Father is this.

1. The Mass was taken from the faithful and we were given something banal and on the spot. Benedict realized this and loosened the bonds.

2 and 3. We have a skewed version of what Ecumenism is and this came directly from Vatican Council II. Everything now is ecumenical, whereas prior to the Council, Ecumenism was very specific. Religious tolerance was with regard to sects (now called ecclesial communions) separated from Rome and Ecumenism dealt directly with the Orthodox alone. As for religious liberty, that has been supplanted with religious freedom and that is a huge issue..liberty and freedom are two different things altogether.

4. As for the Magisterium of Vatican Council II, I think that you're directly questioning the Magisterium by calling for a "reform." As I said, Councils don't need revision, but rather they need clarification. But this last Council is totally unique in that it didn't do what a Council was supposed to do.

Just my thoughts. Nice to see that you have the same concerns the SSPX do.

Mary Jane said...

"Of course to facilitate this critque the Holy Father could add to the option of the 1962 Missal, its slight reform in the vernacular of the 1965 missal. That would be a stroke of genius and reduce the years that it would take to reform Sacrosanctum Concilium and give us a more modest reformed Mass."

I make the same suggestion over on www.sacredmiscellany.com - my own blog - in my posting on "My Liturgical Rubicon."

Andy Milam said...

Mary Jane:

Why does the post-Conciliar world have this incessant need to reform the Mass?

What exactly is wrong with the TLM that it needs/needed to be reformed, either to the hybrid Missa Normativa or to the full on Novus Ordo?

William Meyer said...

I think that the late Michael Davies did much to show the problems in Vatican II documents, chief among them, a lack of specificity or rubrics. Too much left to later interpretation.

I read SC #37-40 as intended to apply to mission lands; others (presumably in good conscience) saw fit to apply them universally. Having read Pope Benedict on the subject, and heard Card. Arinze's elucidation on the same topics, I think my read is correct.

As an example, however, consider the matter of EMHCs. It was left to the discretion of bishops, priests, or whomever to determine the meaning of "extraordinary" in practice, and to determine, as well, what may be a suitable ratio of servers to laity. This leads to the silly case I have seen in my own parish of 8 EMHCs, a priest and deacon, to serve just over 100 people.

SC is quite traditional: Latin to be maintained in the liturgy, chant to have pride of place, and so on. However, the vague wording has allowed for many innovations which (I hope and pray) were not intended.

We need reform of the reform in practice, and less in terms of document revisions. The only real revisions needed would be those which close the door on crazy interpretations.

Marc said...

Andy, thank you for your posts. This idea that we need to return to the using the 1965 Missal is a bit ludicrous. If anything, we should be talking about going further back before the 1962 Missal. The goal should be to root out any potential heretic influence that crept into the mid-20th Century liturgical movements. One simply cannot do that without looking at the pre-1955 liturgical books (and perhaps even earlier).

That said, the 1962 Missal is the last Missal that can be said to have been compiled organically. It is for that very reason that the Holy Father liberated that Missal as opposed to the 1965 Missal (which is a result of errant liturgics not in conformity with Catholic Tradition in such areas as the use of vernacular, versus populum options, etc).

There remains the need to consider returning to the pre-1962 Holy Week Rites, which are preferable for their adherence to Tradition and the fact that Bugnini appears to have concocted the 1962 changes with the Novus Ordo in mind (think about the priest praying toward the people and the people's joining the priest in reciting the entire Pater Noster on Good Friday, for example).

I hope others more knowledgable can add to the tip of the iceberg I have presented here...

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Marc, one has to live in the real world and in fidelity to the popes and their various magisteriums. I do not foresee the EF Mass ever again being the norm, but there will be adaptations to make the current OF missal more like the 1962 missal. So all the orations, prefaces, blessings and Eucharistic prayers we have are not going away and in 600 years this too will be seen as organic.

Marc said...

What does the "various magisteriums" of the popes mean?

I live in the real world, am faithful to the Magisterium, and I disagree with the remainder of your comment.

John Nolan said...

Father, was the Novus Ordo intended to last 600 years? Bugnini didn't think so (he estimated 20 years) and the reformers wanted an ongoing revolution (somewhat on the Maoist model) which would go beyond mere translation, with individual language groups generating their own texts, including eucharistic prayers. Paul VI was alarmed at this anarchic prospect and in effect drew a line in the sand.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Each pope has his magisterium as there can be no magisterium ordinary or extraordinary without the living pope. We have been in a clarification of the council since Pope John Paul. Pope Benedict has kicked it into high gear. The Church today is much different than in 1980.

Marc said...

"Each pope has his magisterium as there can be no magisterium ordinary or extraordinary without the living pope."

What about all those times in history where there was no pope - like that time where there was no pope for 3 years? Or all those times where there were anti-popes?

The position you've just stated is actually a position that the Orthodox use to show that the pope cannot have universal jurisdiction or primacy in the Catholic sense. This is because when there is no pope, under your definition, there can be no magisterium.

For example, in Unam Sanctam, Pope Boniface VIII closes by saying, "[W]e define that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff." Do all those people who happen to die during a time with no Pope miss out on the beatific vision because there was no man at that time to which they were to subject themselves? Surely not... and yet it is clear that obedience to the Pope is necessary for salvation...

Since it is clear, therefore, that the Institution of the Papacy is what is at issue here, is it not more correct to say that the Pope, whoever it may be at any given time, is a custodian of a continuing Magisterium? Otherwise, you risk falling into the error that everything the pope says or does is infallible... When the pope is viewed as custodian, those things are infallible that are in conformity with the Magisterium. This is in line with Vatican I.

Perhaps we are thinking the same thing and this is a purely semantic debate...?

I'm just thinking of the all the popes who murdered people and condoned heresy, like the "magisterium of Pope Honorius I." Surely, we shouldn't base our faith off of "the various magisteriums" of these popes, right? So, what sort of obedience is due to a pope like Honorius I in order to be subject to the Roman Pontiff, as Pope Boniface VIII declared?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Marc you sound like a dissenting Catholic from the 60'S who dissented fr humanae vitae and desire more sudsidarity and independence from Rome. Keep in mind too that the Orthodox accept no ecumenical council since the Great Schism but Varican 2 did emphasize the Church and bishop to balance Vatican 1's emphasis on the papacy. So I see you are a closeted liberal! Keep in mind too that Vatican 2 was suspended when Pope John died and Paul VI could have chosen not to reconvene. There can be no Council without a living Pope.

John Nolan said...

"Paul VI could have chosen not to reconvene [the Council]". A missed opportunity, methinks.

Marc said...

So, now I am a liberal on top of being a schismatic!

Well, I really just consider myself someone who is asking questions and waiting for answers. Since that is the case, I will ask further:

What are we to believe if, for example a future Ecumenical Council purported to pastorally explain Humanae Vitae (without naming that document) to allow for contraception where a married couple's pastor allowed it for pastoral reasons?

Would we believe that Ecumenical Council or Pope Paul VI's Encyclical?

Perhaps your response will answer several of my questions.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Catholics believe that the pope alone or the pope and bishops together either in the ordinary or extraordinary magisterium have the power to bind and loose even in non-infallible church teaching or administration such as canon law and specifically marriage. It is progressive liberal reductionism not to mention cafeteria Catholicism to call into question papal decisions not to mention an ecumenical council. Of course humility is necessary to set aside one's preferences in obedience to the living magisterium in the areas of faith, morals and canon law.

Marc said...

Yes, Father, I am aware of the Catholic teaching as you yourself taught it to me in RCIA! :-)

I have read the Catechism and large portions of older catechisms as well. I have read numerous papal encyclicals and most of the Vatican II documents, as well as Vatican I and portions of Trent. I spend hours each day in anxiety over just these questions that I am presenting to you. Please believe me, I am not asking these questions in an attempt to undermine the Church or our Holy Father, to whom I submit with utmost filial affection. I lose sleep over these issues because no one seems to be able to provide an answer, so I am forced to construct answers for myself - perhaps that is the very problem in the Church today: the recent popes have refused to be popes and speak with the authority of their position (but that is another discussion). I will add that I reject no teaching of the Catholic faith, including the power of the pope. If I did, I would be Orthodox as they have a beautiful liturgy, no modernism, and the same or more deep historocity. So, yes, it would be much easier for me if I could toss the pope aside. But, alas, I am beholden to the pope as I believe (as so many do not these days) that submission to the Roman Pontiff is necessary for salvation.

That said...

My question is raising the issue of what Catholics are to believe when a doctrine defined by a pope (such a Humanae Vitae) is later purportedly "superceded" by an Ecumenical Council (specifically, such a council that expressly states it is not defining doctrine)?

Both are levels of the Magisterium according to Church teaching, as you have pointed out. So, in this case, where the two are in apparent contradiction, in which are the faithful to place their trust?

And while we're thinking about that, let me offer a second hypothetical that gets more directly at your contention: What if the currently living pope issues an encyclical that is in apparent contradiction to a prior papal encyclical and it is the prior encyclical that appears to be in actual conformity with the continuous Tradition of the Church and not the encyclical of the living pope?

I hope you and/or some of the commenters can provide a good answer to these hypotheticals.

Andy Milam said...

Marc,

You say, "That said, the 1962 Missal is the last Missal that can be said to have been compiled organically. It is for that very reason that the Holy Father liberated that Missal as opposed to the 1965 Missal (which is a result of errant liturgics not in conformity with Catholic Tradition in such areas as the use of vernacular, versus populum options, etc)."

I agree 100%. The 1965 Missa Normativa was never intended to be anything other than what it was, a stopgap. That is a problem. If we look back to the reforms of Pius V, we will see that there was no stopgap, the codified form of the Mass was promulgated and it was carried out, post haste. And we had peace until 1963. Sure there were 5 or 6 adaptations in the 400 years, but they are based upon organic growth throughout the Church. Completely normal. However, since the Council, there have been many, many adaptations, innovations and changes. Heck we're on the the third Latin Edition already and that doesn't take into account all of the regional changes...to me it seems that there has been a "deregulation" of the Mass, in terms of noble simplicity and consistency.

You go on to say, "There remains the need to consider returning to the pre-1962 Holy Week Rites, which are preferable for their adherence to Tradition and the fact that Bugnini appears to have concocted the 1962 changes with the Novus Ordo in mind (think about the priest praying toward the people and the people's joining the priest in reciting the entire Pater Noster on Good Friday, for example)."

Yes, I agree to this as well...I think that what really needs to be looked at are the changes which Piux XII made. Are they necessary? Were they organic or were they fabrications of the Consilium to "prepare the faithful" for the onslaught which the reformers after Vatican Council II unleashed?

All of that being said, Fr. McD says that we must live in the real world with regard to this. I respond to Fr. McD, thusly....would you have thought in 1984 that the TLM would be as liberalized as it is now? Those of us who champion Traditionalism are not doing this out of some sort of nostalgia or some sort of hopeful wishing of St. Thomas More's Utopia. We are doing this because we recognize that the last peace with regard to orthodox worship (like that... :) ) came not from 1963 onward, but from 1951 and previous. To eliminate or to flip the forms as being ordinary isn't a pipe dream of Traddy's, but rather it is a real possibility. I have long made the argument that the Novus Ordo was the great experiment which failed. I stand behind that. The problem is that the liberals are so rigid and unaccepting of true Catholic diversity that they have lost sight of the forest and are only looking that the liberalized trees...

The reality is that the TLM is gaining momentum and it will surpass the Novus Ordo. Give it another 5 to 10 years.

Anonymous 5 said...

Let me add my own $0.02 to the dialogue between Marc and Fr. McD, which is echoing my discussion with Pater and A2 in another thread. I will try to re-phrase the issue Marc is trying to raise.

A competent authority (pope, council, whatever) issues Document A, which purports to be a magisterial document containing a doctrinal teaching A. Then, later, a competent authority issues Document Not-A, which purports to be a magisterial document containing a doctrinal teaching not-A.

A and not-A, on their face, appear expressly to contradict each other.

What are the possibilities? I list ramifications in parens after each possibility.

1) A and not-A actually do contradict each other. A is doctrine; Not-A is not, and it never has been and never will be. (What, then, of the fact that both documents claim doctrinal status?)

2) A and not-A actually do contradict each other. Not-A is doctrine; A is not, and it never has been and never will be. (What, then, of the fact that both documents claim doctrinal status?)

3) A and not-A actually do contradict each other. Neither A nor Not-A is doctrine and neither has ever been doctrine, though one of them--and one only--may someday be declared to be doctrine. (What, then, of the fact that both documents claim doctrinal status?)

4) A and not-A actually do NOT contradict each other. A is doctrine; Not-A is not, and it never has been and never will be. (What, then, of the fact that both documents claim doctrinal status?)

5) A and not-A actually do NOT contradict each other. Not-A is doctrine; A is not, and it never has been and never will be. (What, then, of the fact that both documents claim doctrinal status?)

6) A and not-A actually do NOT contradict each other. Neither A nor Not-A is doctrine and neither has ever been doctrine, though one or both of them may someday be declared to be doctrine. (What, then, of the fact that both documents claim doctrinal status?)

7) A and not-A actually do NOT contradict each other. A is a doctrine of the Church and not-A is not, though it may someday be declared to be doctrine. (What, then, of the fact that both documents claim doctrinal status?)

8) A and not-A actually do NOT contradict each other. Not-A is a doctrine of the Church and A is not, though it may someday be declared to be doctrine. (What, then, of the fact that both documents claim doctrinal status?)

9) A and not-A actually do NOT contradict each other. Both are doctrines of the Church. (This is the easiest answer, except for the fact that in practice the Faithful need guidance from the Magisterium on how to reconcile A and not-A or risk falling into heterodoxy or heteropraxis.)

And finally,

10) A and not-A actually do contradict each other. Both A and not-A are doctrines of the Church, or both become doctrines of the Church at some time, either in these two documents or at some other point. (The Catholic Church is a false religion.)

Have I missed any?

Are the ramifications I list accurate?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I only have my iPhone to post which is tedious, so no long response to Marc or A5. There are no new doctrines or dogmas on V2, but there is new theology to explain existing theology going back to the fathers and biblical foundations. There is also an emphasis on the laity and their role in the church's institutional aspects and in the world and their call to holiness.
Moral teachings even the 10 commandments always have some caveats. You shall not kill, love your enemy but then over the centuries we get the just war theory or theology and the self-defense caveat in certain circumstances. Is you shall not kill infallible? Yes buy theology and theory show some exceptions under strict circumstances, real world related. Is that happening to Humanae Vitae--perhaps we are in the first very messy and confused state of developing a theory or theology of exception under very strict pastoral circumstances. I would say that you shall not kill is a higher moral teaching that the church as developed some strict exception theories or theologies and I can see the same happening under Church official approbation concerning some forms of artificial contraception exception theories or theology but actually approved in the future by the magisterium like the just war theory.

Marc said...

Andy, thank you for elaborating on my post. A5, you have very succinctly stated the problem, as well as the logical conclusions that spring from it.

Father, I disagree strongly with your idea that Humanae Vitae may someday be "clarified" to allow for artificial contraception. Here is the difference with just war, for example. The concept of self-defense has always be recognized as an exception to the Divine Law prohibiting homicide. Just war extrapolates from that to a "modern" situation applying the law to a newly arisen circumstance. Humanae Vitae did the same when applying Divine Law to the newly arisen circumstance of artificial contraception. To prospectively apply an exception to that clarification would almost necessarily constitute doctrinal evolution as anathematized by Pope St. Pius X, among others.

I know you are at a bit of a disadvantage in responding via iPhone, so I will drop that discussion for now.

In summation of mine and other Traditionalists' position, though, I offer the following:

We are what you once were.

We believe what you once believed.

We worship as you once worshipped.

If you were right then, we are right now.

If we are wrong now, you were wrong then.

Anonymous 5 said...

Fr. McD,

I think in general your description of the development of doctrine is a good one, but one must be very, very careful with it. For instance, in your "do not kill" example, the better explanation lies with the proper understanding and translation of the word "kill." I think it's valid to say (or at least argue) that the better translation is "murder", or "kill unjustly," a view than many O.T scholars hold, or to appeal to context. But if the commandment is properly understood as "killing a person is never ok" and then just war theory says "killing a person is sometimes ok" then just war theory must be must be wrong, mustn't it?

As to your Humanae Vitae argument: speaking as a former Anglican, I think you're treading onto very dangerous ground. The non-Catholic Christian universal approval of birth control began with precisely the step that you describe--see Resolution 15 of the Lambeth Conference of 1930. Within a generation the exception swallowed the rule, and within another generation the Protestants had effectively stopped discussing birth control at all. (Only recently have some few evangelicals started questioning this.) It's possible that this result was, if you will, a "Spirit of Lambeth" analagous to the "Spirit of VII," and so illegitimate, but if we are to have that in the Catholic Church, it must be a) supportred by the text of Humanae Vitae and the approval of Sacred Tradition, and it should be accompanied with rigorous catechesis and oversight so the practice is in fact in keeping with the teaching. Given the post VII track record, I wouldn't bet my money on the latter.

My basic point is that sometimes the development is such a strained interpretation of the original teaching that the latter cannot be rationally defended as being in concert with the former. In the VII case,maybe it can be rationally defended, but the hierarchy isn't doing so.

Militia Immaculata said...

I think Fr. McDonald was merely using Humanae Vitae as a purely hypothetical scenario -- nothing more. I don't think he believes that Church teaching will ever "develop" to the point of allowing contraception, no matter how limited the circumstances may be.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Yes, my proposal for dissent is based upon theory and one's personal conscience always recognizing that when one makes a decision of conscience no matter how well-meaning, if that decision goes against the moral teachings of the church, then that person will be held accountable before God and if it is public in nature, before the Church too. For example many people marry a second time outside of the Church once they receive a civil divorce without an a Church annulment. Many justify this on moral grounds. These persons will have to answer to God no matter how well intentioned and how much in love and how supportive they are to their children. All we can do is place them into the mercy of God's hands, but they should not present themselves for Holy Communion. If they do and no one knows their situation, they will have to answer to God. That's the way it is.