Tuesday, March 31, 2015

CATHOLIC IDENTITY IN A WORLD OF CATHOLICS GONE CRAZY AND CULT LIKE

This is enforcing a post-Vatican II norm in the most pre-Vatican II way possible and contributes to the rebellion of Catholics in many different areas of the Church's norms and laws, liturgical and otherwise:
 You can read a story about a break away group from the SSPX. This breakaway group concretized itself last week when a rogue bishop of the SSPX (a rebellion within a rebellion) consecrated a bishop and the rogue bishop along with the bishop he consecrated incurred automatic excommunication once again.

You can read a news story on this rebellion within a rebellion by pressing this sentence!

My comments on being a post-Vatican II Catholic after experiencing the pre-Vatican II Catholicism that partially formed me from 1954 when I was baptized to about 1966 or so:

What wasn't so good and needed some adjustment of the pre-Vatican II Church?

1.  Paternalism: The clergy and religious often treated adults as they did children, thus stunting the spiritual and moral growth of Catholic adults. In fact this authoritarianism of many of the clergy and religious of the pre-Vatican II period (not authoritativeness, which is a positive) helped lead to the rebellion of adult Catholics in the post-Humanae Vitae period of the Church.

2. Rigidity and smugness: In terms of touting the fact that the Church is the true Church and Protestants where both schismatic and heretical, fighting the reformation some several hundred years after the fact, the Church's clergy and religious could be shrill in condemning everyone who wasn't Catholic to hell. I know of many children who had a parent who wasn't Catholic being told directly or indirectly that their mother or father would go to hell if they didn't become Catholic. Outside the Church there is no salvation was taught without nuance.

3. The all Latin Mass and quiet actual participation made it difficult for children, teenagers and adults to fully comprehend the Mass in a natural way and the symbol of only the clergy having active roles, contributed to a false understanding that the Church was primarily of the clergy and the religious with the laity simply ignorant, immature children who can't ride a two wheeled bike and were spectators.

What was good about the Pre-Vatican II Church?

1. Clear teachings and strong Catholic identity built upon a love and respect for Holy Mother Church.

2. Clear moral teachings that could help adults know the boundaries and what could harm or kill their salvation.

3. Clear belief on the substance of the Sacraments, not the signs, but Jesus Christ to whom the signs point and reveal, and the awe and respect owed the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity which the Sacraments cloth in a material way.

4. Clear expectations about how the laity live their Catholic lives by avoiding scandal and bad example.

Finally what is good and bad about the Vatican II Church?

Bad: To make the Vatican II Church look good by denigrating that which was good in the pre-Vatican II Church, especially strong Catholic identity and the manner in which the Sacraments were celebrated including the Holy Mass.

Good: Trying to enable lay Catholics to participate in all facets of actual participation in the Sacraments and more easily understand what is happening through vernacularization. 

Bad: Making adult Catholics think that being mature means rebelling against the legitmate authority of the Church and her authoritativeness especially in the areas of human sexuality but now with ultra-traditionalists who think they can go their own way if they disagree with the Magisterium, like the SSPX and its splinter rebellion groups. All are cut from the same cloth to include the ultra liberal rebellion in the Church today.

Good: Catholics accepting all that the Church teaches and believes to be revealed by God and the ability to apply these teachings to their own lives in difficult situations by listening and believing what the Church teaches and respecting these teachings in their decisions of conscience acknowledging that if that decision diverges from what the Church teaches they will find accountability before God at their particular judgement.

Bad: Loss of identity by clergy and religious in a bid to become more like the laity, especially in dress and lifestyle and the loss of the identity of the laity who tried to become more like the clergy.

My final comments: This very post Vatican II liberal Catholic who loves his roots and celebrates it in the most positive way possible, by embracing what the Church allows us to embrace of the pre-Vatican II period that is good, loves ecumenism and inter-religious dialogue and respect for those who are different from us. He loves the Ordinary Form of the Mass and understands it as the main liturgy of the Church but loves the EF Mass too and allows it where it is welcomed.

He loves the clarity of the pre-Vatican II Church in the areas of morality, in particular sexual morality, but presents it in the most post-Vatican II way possible.

He loves too that while the laity are now treated in a more adult-like way and not in a paternalistic way, that the clergy have a responsibility to be authoritative and to be leaders and not to abdicate to the laity in this regard.

He would never join a group that is rebelling against the Church such as SSPX or any ultra-liberal expressions such as "Voice of the Faithful" and similar groups.

9 comments:

JBS said...

Honestly, I don't care about the SSPX anymore. Their Catholic counterpart is the FSSP,and by now any faithful Catholic with loyal concerns about post-Vatican II reforms will have left the SSPX, either to return from their schism, or to continue down the road that leads inevitably to Protestantism.

I do have a question about Catholic identity. It seems to me that we speak of "Catholic identity" often, but by the term we seem to conceive of the Church as some sort of ethnic or social group bound by visible fraternity. But surely our identity is Christ. There has certainly been a loss of Catholic fraternity in recent decades, a loss flowing from ambiguous catechesis, relaxed discipline, and contradictory worship, but it is always Christ, not the Catholic "ghetto" experience, who identifies us.

Anonymous said...

We have been told that the SSPX can be easily regularized if they will simply assent to Vatican II completely. However, how can they be held to do such a thing when Vatican II itself is merely a "pastoral" council that allegedly defined no new dogmas and definitely pronounced no anathemas on those who did not hold to what it taught? Something in its very nature seems non-binding. Cardinal Ratzinger's complaint that Vatican II was treated as a "super dogma" seems almost prophetic these days. The Church has reached a point where it seems to be living in a contradiction: We cannot return to the past, but we are free to worship as we did in the past, but if you do worship as you did in the past you will probably be marginalized, but the laws on the books say its OK, even though your bishop will probably look down on you if you do so for being "cryptoLefebvrian" and now let us all thank God for the gift of the hermeneutic of continuity which will be slammed shut for the duration.


This is where some of that pre-Vatican II clarity would be very welcome.

Marie said...

JBS, I agree with what you said about SSPX.

As regards Catholic identity, of course it is Christ.

But given that so many of those outside the fold also claim [rightly or wrongly] Christ as their identity, I feel we must somehow distinguish ourselves by keeping our holy culture and traditions alive and not forgetting that ours is the true Church of Christ.

Coming from the far eastern end of Christendom, I always thank God that I belong to a vast family, a home that is holy and overlooks the "foreign-ness" of my race, my poverty, my language, my education, my physical appearance, and the food I eat. I cherish Holy Mass and its seasons. I adore the Blessed Sacrament on the altar Who other Christian groups don't have. I value the Sacraments, especially the priesthood [including the hierarchy in far-off Vatican] confession, and communion.

I unite myself with the rest of you in reciting traditional prayers, in the use of statuaries, blessed candles, holy water, the rosary and scapular and other sacramentals, in reading spiritual books and blogs about our faith, in admiring the design and layout of church buildings and furnishing, and not the least, in our traditional music.

To a greater or lesser degree, all these contribute to defining our identity, which is Christ, in Christ, and Catholic.

Ghetto? So be it.

JBS said...

Marie,

Thank you for your response. My concern is that while the ghetto culture supports an entrenched fraternity, it might also prevent us from evangelizing, or, more importantly, growing in our relationship with Christ. After all, the very generation that experienced the identity stability of the 1950's is the same generation that chose not to pass it on to the next generation. Was this because the outward identity had no divine inner strength? I find all this very puzzling.

Joe Potillor said...

Our Identity always needs to be in Christ and through Christ. For without Him, we are nothing.

Having only grown up in a post Vatican II world I can't help but to make a few points.

1. Is it entirely possible that the Church is still suffering from the same problems that she did during the pre-Vatican II period? Let me flesh out my thoughts a bit:

The Teachings or instructions are still not getting out on the local level. For example, everyone praises the fact that Vatican II taught about the Universal Call to Holiness. The Church has always taught that everyone is called to Holiness (even if the perception amongst the faithful was quite the opposite) since these were the days before the internet, why wasn't the perception being fixed? This is of course on the good end of things...How about on the bad end? Rome gives an instruction to NOT give Communion to Politicians that are publicly supporting abortion. Yet this instruction gets thrown to committee in the USCCB for "consideration" (aka: we'll do what we want, regardless of what big bad Rome says)...It seems rather difficult when things are trying to get done, and those that are supposed to be in Communion manage to block every attempt to implement the reforms in at the local level...(Need I use the Archdiocese of Los Angeles as an example?)....It seems the extra level (Bishops' Conferences without the mind of the Church) seem to be a hinderance rather than a help, and perhaps should be eliminated.

2. Even with the venacularizations, we will never fully comprehend the Mass/Divine Liturgy with our finite human language. I would argue that at least in application in the Western church it's done the opposite of what was intended. But even this didn't have to go as such....The Silent Mass is not supposed to be the norm of the Church, the Sung Mass is supposed to be the norm of the Church. The flexibility in singing in the NO I think is a good thing, simply due to the fact that the capabilities of the local church aren't always prepared for the full Solemn form of the Mass.

3. Although I do not agree with your assessment of the SSPX (I do not necessarily think that liberals and the SSPX are cut from the same cloth)...and I tend to think their complaints about Vatican II should be looked at and considered, especially on Religious Liberty...I do have some admiration for them, nor do I think they should be ignored.

A blessed Holy Week to all of you!

Marie said...

JBS, I appreciate your concern. To keep the "ghetto's" gate open wide for converts and reverts [including the SSPX], to come in. To be generous in handing down to the next generations what have been handed to us in the past. It's called spreading the "universal call to holiness." Yet at the same time, the challenge is how to ward off evil influences from the world outside.

It's tricky. And yes, the answer is Jesus Christ. He is the core of our culture and traditions. He is everything of our identity as Catholics.

I am reminded of what St. John Vianney was said to have told a parent who asked for advice on how to keep his children Catholic. Apparently, the father has done everything he thought was necessary: materially provide for their needs, love their mother, teach them the faith, be present for them, pray for them. Yet the children were not quite progressing spiritually as he desired.

Saint John Vianney answered with a question: "Have you tried fasting for them?"

I think the present situation calls for us of this generation for greater mortification that the faith might be kept alive for ages to come. Theology experts may be writing books and blogs, teaching at universities and making speaking tours, yet their efforts at evangelization are not producing the same quality results and those of teachers in the past. Maybe they need to fast not just from food but also from legitimate pleasures.

St. Francis Xavier suffered hunger and thirst in Asia during his wonderings and died of hypothermia on the shore near Hongkong. All because of Christ. St. Therese controlled her volatile temper by deciding not to get upset when she saw her brushes, cans of paint, and canvases in disarray. She suffered the humiliation of being treated like an annoying kid and tapped on the leg with a walking stick each time she led a grumpy elderly nun to choir. She chose to refrain from enjoying her blood sisters' company during recreation - All for Jesus, small sacrifices, but they added up. Sts. Francis X and Therese are co-patrons of the missions [evangelization, if you will.]

I hope to carry my advice even as I write this. I have my own cross to carry, as a disciple of Christ whom I love and follow. Maybe in loving and embracing my own cross, I will help spread the good news of Christ, no matter how puny the effort - horizontally to my friends and neighbors, and vertically down to my children and grandchildren.





Militia Immaculata said...

Anonymous:

Just because a council is pastoral doesn't mean Catholics are free not to assent to it. Two quotes from Blessed Paul VI illustrate this. In a letter to Archbishop Lefebvre, His Holiness stated the following:

"You cannot invoke the distinction between dogmatic and pastoral in order to accept certain texts of the Council and to refute others. Certainly, all that was said in the Council does not demand an assent of the same nature; only that which is affirmed as an object of faith or truth attached to the faith, by definitive acts, require an assent of faith. But the rest is also a part of the solemn magisterium of the Church to which all faithful must make a confident reception and a sincere application" (Letter to Archbishop Lefebvre, Nov. 10, 1976).

Then, years earlier, His Holiness expounded upon Vatican II's authority:

"In view of the pastoral nature of the Council, it avoided any extraordinary statement of dogmas that would be endowed with the note of infallibility, but it still provided its teaching with the authority of the supreme ordinary Magisterium. This ordinary Magisterium, which is so obviously official, has to be accepted with docility, and sincerity by all the faithful, in accordance with the mind of the Council on the nature and aims of the individual documents" (emphasis added).

George said...

Fr Macdonald, you may classify yourself as liberal but that would only be in the classic sense of the word. By today's standards anyone who opposes same-sex marriage, abortion,artificial contraception, and women priests(all things which good Catholics should oppose) is by today's standards a conservative.

Henry said...

"Just because a council is pastoral doesn't mean Catholics are free not to assent to it."

But what the word "assent" means here is undefined, and perhaps even undefinable in blanket application to a council whose recommendations vary so much from doctrinal to prudential to disciplinary.

"Fr. Hunwicke has pointed out that many passages in Vatican II documents (Gaudium et Spes comes particularly to mind) now read like dated period-pieces, quaint with the naïve optimism of their day, perhaps even quaint at the moment they first appeared, and rapidly aging like the architectural products of the same period, which today are frequently torn down to make room for more beautiful and traditional buildings. Just as the passage of time condemned to irrelevance many thundering provisions of medieval councils, so, too, something like this is happening slowly to the Vatican II documents, or at least to their purple passages." (Quoted from Peter Kwasniewski)

Therefore, the generally unqualified assent appropriate in the years immediately following the council may well be moderated today by common sense and prudent judgement as to those pastoral recommendations on policies and disciplinary matters that have been shown by subsequent decades of pastoral experience to have been unwise or even counter-productive.