Misdirections: Ten sure-fire ways to mix up the teachings of Vatican II. Press this sentence to see it."
He makes some very good common sense points but taken to an extreme he tries to eliminate any dissension from the progressive agenda for the Church, but covers it with academic good will. I suspect we could call it academic clericalism or subterfuge. But he makes very many valid points but these certainly are not above criticism. It is important to read these sorts of memes in their proper literary genre, that is, it is purely an opinion piece. And even as an academic and a theologian, whose role is to raise issues and assist the Magisterium in handing on the faith, these same people are not a parallel magisterium, try as they have since Vatican II to elevate themselves into one. In that sense it can be very self-serving, which is rather obvious to most.
You must read his article and comments to understand mine! Keep in mind, that we can be in rupture with academic theologians and their sentiments. We can dissent from them try as they may to persuade us otherwise by semi-infallible statements that are really opinions. His is an opinion piece as is mine. So read it in its proper literary form and context to interpret it properly and disagree with it properly or agree with it if you wish! We are free to do that, you know as much as they may protest!
My comments are in BOLD. Again you must read his opinion to juxtapose it to mine (press here for the America Article).
1. Insist Vatican II was only a pastoral council. Agreed. It is far more than a Pastoral Council. Vatican II changed things and did so in broad strokes, from Liturgy, to governance to ecumenism to interfaith and no faith dialogue. It was indeed more than just a Pastoral Council and reiterated infallible teachings from other Councils and the popes in the most authoritative ways. It asked that Latin be maintained, but some vernacular allowed and that Gregorian Chant have a pride of place in the Church's liturgies. I guess you could say this is just pastoral, but I would say these are things screaming to be implemented and not optional.
2. Insist it was an occurrence in the life of the church, not an event. Again, this ties in with #1. Vatican II is not just a pastoral council or an occurrence, it has ramifications for the Church many of which are yet to be implemented or realized. For example how far have we drifted from VII's Constitution on the Church: "“In matters of faith and morals, the bishops speak in the name of Christ and the faithful are to accept their teaching and adhere to it with a religious assent.” Or how seriously do we take the following from the same: "This religious submission of mind and will must be shown in a special way to the authentic magisterium of the Roman Pontiff, even when he is not speaking ex cathedra; that is, it must be shown in such a way that his supreme magisterium is acknowledged with reverence, the judgments made by him are sincerely adhered to, according to his manifest mind and will."
3. Banish the expression “spirit of the council.” I agree with Fr. O'Malley's sentiments here: "spirit, rightly understood, indicates themes and orientations that imbue the council with its identity because they are found not in one document but in all or almost all of them. Thus, the “spirit of the council,” while based solidly on the “letter” of the council’s documents, transcends any specific one of them. It enables us to see the bigger message of the council and the direction in which it pointed the church, which was in many regards different from the direction before the council." My assessment is that in most areas, we have failed the "spirit" of the Council and implemented an anti-spirit. Pope Benedict is correcting this by going back to the actual documents and its true spirit and modifying how the Liturgy was revamped to better reflect the spirit of the council as well as how ecumenism is practiced to better reflect the spirit of the council and making sure that the Constitution of the Church is understood as the spirit of the Council demanded. We just have to refrain from the "spirit" of the cultural upheavals of the 60's and 70's which is really anti-Council and anti-Spirit and in some cases "anti-Christ.
4. Study the documents individually, without considering them part of an integral corpus. This is a no-brainer and it is applicable to the Scripture, Tradition and Natural Law. It is applicable to Church history too. It is need for "reform in continuity" quite obviously.
5. Study the final 16 documents in the order of hierarchical authority, not in the chronological order in which they were approved in the council. Agreed!
6. Pay no attention to the documents’ literary form. Agreed!
7. Stick to the final 16 documents and pay no attention to the historical context, the history of the texts or the controversies concerning them during the council. We have to understand the first half of the 20th century and even the latter part of the 19th century to understand the Council. We also have to understand the sentiments that developed as a result of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation. Of course this means that some of what it was reacting to is no longer applicable today, so in that sense we have to react to what is happening today and formulate new strategies. This would certainly be in the "spirit" of the Council and the "reform in continuity" of the present day.
8.Outlaw the use of any “unofficial” sources, such as the diaries or correspondence of participants. Agreed, but just don't make them more important than the Council itself and the living Magisterium after the Council. The Church didn't ended in 1965! Take into account the notes of significant people in the Church after the Council, such as Avery Dulles, John Paul II, Cardinal Ratzinger and in the present day!
9. Interpret the documents as expressions of continuity with the Catholic tradition. Here, O'Malley is truly diversionary. He knows full well that Pope Benedict's "reform in Continuity" implies change but not rupture. Rupture in defined doctrines and dogmas, in moral theology and also in pastoral practice is not what the Council intended. It cannot be called rupture but development in continuity; it is in other words change and in the positive sense of the term.. The term rupture on the other hand is negative. The Council was not negative! And here we need to distinguish been pastoral practices, such as telling a wife she needs to stay with a husband who beats her to preserve the sanctity of marriage, to telling her to do all she can to save her marriage and her husband and to take care of her safety and peace of mind, and physical well being and to get out of an abusive relationship and seek a legal separation. This is not rupture, this is change in continuity. The same can be said of ecumenism, interfaith dialogue and dialogue with non-believers. We shift the paradigm in a positive way. This is not rupture, this is change! or "reform in continuity" which is a far superior term than "rupture." Who wants a rupture after all?
10. Make your assessment of the council into a self-fulfilling prophecy. O'Malley writes: This principle is not so much about misinterpreting the council as it is about employing assessments to determine how the council will now be implemented and received. The principle is dangerous in anyone’s hands but especially dangerous in the hands of those who have the authority to make their assessment operative. In this regard “the party slogan” in George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four hits the nail on the head: “Who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past.” This is good old 1960's rebellion against legitimate authority and tells us once again that the generation up next for elimination from the world scene by the plan of God is my generation, since our parents are the ones that are mostly gone now. This last statement says it all and is what the new generations of Catholics must recognize and reform and truly do so in terms of RUPTURE! Keep in mind, academics are human and fallible and we can question them and we can dissent from them! I think that bothers them!
MY FINAL COMMENT: The last statement of Fr. O'Malley says it all and reveals the true intent of his opinion piece. Let's all yawn and dissent from it but keep what is good. Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater as this generation of theologians did!