Tuesday, December 23, 2014
PRE-VATICAN II PRAYER AND SPIRITUALITY BETTER THAN POST VATICAN II PRAYER AND SPIRITUALITY: THE LAW OF PRAYER IS THE LAW OF BELIEF
Over at CRUX you can read John Allen's analysis of Pope Francis' scathing criticism of the curia by Pope Francis during his "Merry Christmas Greeting" on Monday, December 22. I suspect Pope Francis is receiving some push back for his radical reforms of the Vatican, the Church and the papacy by the curia and thus the slam, the most public slam.
I often wondered which group opposed Pope Benedict in the curia. Was it progressives who did not like the pre-Vatican II in continuity theology of the Holy Father and his restoration of pre-Vatican II prayer and spirituality and trappings?
And now with Pope Francis is it the conservatives, like Cardinal Burke, who are pushing back and to whom the Pope was directing his scathing remarks?
I don't know. I think it is much more complex and that the curia needs reform but I think publicly humiliating everyone and casting suspicion on them all is not the way to go. But who am I to judge?
But John Allen's analysis including a reminder of Pope Francis praising past members of the curia, those of the pre-Vatican II Church is worth exploring. This is what John Allen writes:
Even when Francis tries to go positive, his language sometimes comes off as a back-handed tribute. For instance, he often talks about “old-time curialists” he admires, who did their jobs competently and without fanfare, but by describing them as “old-time” he seems to suggest the current crop of Vatican officials isn’t up to the same standard.
What is it about the "old-time curialists" that was so admirable? They were formed by the pre-Vatican II Church, its discipline, its liturgy, its sacraments and its legalism found in Canon Law and other important precepts! There was a real fear of displeasing God! They went to confession regularly. They were reminded of their smallness before God and God's grandeur as they knelt before him. They knelt before him in prayer and at Holy Communion if they were not the celebrant of the Mass!
The pre-Vatican II Mass, with 1500 years behind it, reminded the priest-celebrant of his sinfulness over and over again, first with his private confiteor and absolution by the ministers at the Foot of the Altar and in all of the private prayers of priest during the Mass all of which have been expunged from the contrived post-Vatican II Mass with its theology of haughtiness before God.
Keep in mind that the self-referential Church is the post-Vatican II Church, where the documents of Vatican II became the new Scriptures and was preached more than God the Most Holy Trinity!
By denigrating all things pre-Vatican II, its prayer, its devotions, its liturgies, its sacramental theology, its morality, its obsession with sin and confession, its exaltation of a high Christology and the low theology of mankind, the Church herself has prepared the way for the type of Catholics we have today that Pope Francis criticizes in a scathing way. At it isn't just curialist that need the examination of conscience that the pope preached.
While I applaud Pope Francis, a doctor of the soul, for making the proper diagnosis that afflicts so many post-Vatican II Catholics, and not just curialists, I fear it has not uncovered the actual cause and that he may well be fomenting even more illness in the Church by not doing so.
The pathogen of the spiritual illness described in the pope's Merry Christmas address is post-Vatican II loss of faith and morals and contempt for canon law and other important precepts not to mention a loss of fear of displeasing God! It is a loss of orienting oneself toward the majesty of God during the Liturgy. It is a loss of reverence that leads to haughtiness that is brought on by standing for Holy Communion and receiving the King of Kings in one's hand and in the most casual and sometimes disrespectful ways. It is a loss of the Augustinian awareness of the wormness of mankind and depravity before God that deserves eternal damnation if not for the unmerited mercy and redemption of Jesus Christ in the Sacrifice of the Cross.
It is a loss of the belief that the Mass perpetuates the one Sacrifice of Christ which alone saves us from sin and death.
It is a loss of frequent confession of one's sin and an awareness of our sinfulness by a Mass that emphasizes it to the point of a fault, but a happy fault.
And Holy Father Francis, it is a sense of entitlement to Holy Communion that even those who are privately excommunicated still present themselves for Holy Communion in a state of unforgiven mortal sin, such as being in a second "marriage" while their first sacramental marriage is presumed to continue to exist. But there are plenty of other examples of the haughty reception of Holy Communion without sacramental absolution for mortal sins committed the night before or weeks and years before.
Yes the Law of Prayer is the Law of Belief, for good or ill!