Saturday, June 11, 2016
CAN THE THREE MAJOR CAMPS IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH BE CATHOLIC, MEANING, BE UNITED?
In the Catholic Church today and brought about by the upheavals of the Second Vatican Council and its "misimplementation," are three distinct camps:
1. The Traditionalists want nothing to do with Vatican II. The Society of Saint Pope Pious X (SSXP) exemplifies this part of the Church. It is a small cult but very vibrant although rigid. The symbol of their traditionalism is the Mass as it was celebrated prior to Vatican II along with the ethos of a community encircled fighting the enemies opposed to them which for the SSXP includes the Magisterium. They are fundamentally opposed to ecumenism, interfaith relationships and dialogue with the world, i.e agnostics,atheists and secularists.
2. The Reform of the Reform camp (which I include myself) believes that Vatican II properly implemented, which it hasn't been, is what God desires for His Church which is a living, breathing and moving reality as was the People of God, the Chosen People of the Old Testament. We believe that Vatican II reiterated all that preceded this ecumenical council but called for a new way of relating to the world and a new pastoral approach within the Church that is more humane and Christ-like, thus more divine and thus less rigid.
The center of the Reform of the Reform in Continuity with Tradition Camp is the Mass. The Ordinary Form of the Mass simply needs to recover the ethos of the Extraordinary Form but without ditching the major reforms of the Missal to include it additional Masses, prayers, lectionary and vernacular.
For the Reform of the Reform camp, the Mass celebrated completely in English using chant even in English which resembles Gregorian Latin Chant is the way to go rather than acquiescing to the secular trends of musical idioms set to religious words, be it rock, punk, folk, or the so-called contemporary sounds all of which are built on fad not substance.
A recovery of the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar, the EF's Offertory Prayers, Last Gospel, EF rubrics and the quiet prayers of the priest in the EF Mass and elements of the EF's Calendar but added to the Ordinary Form's current missal is a major goal and already realized by the Ordinariate's wonderful new "Divine Worship, the Missal." This includes the Mass being celebrated ad orientem and kneeling at the Communion Railing to receive Holy Communion with the Precious Blood offered by way of intinction. Latin prescribed for the fixed parts of the Mass would be a goal as well as we are a part of the Latin Rite, after all, of the Catholic Church!
3. The Progressive camp of the Church is the most divisive and difficult. It is clearly a breach with the Church's Tradition and a new religion or worse yet, post-Catholic or post Christian. It's god is serving the poor as though this is something distinctively Catholic. Serving the poor is common to most religions of the world and atheists and agnostics are good at this too. It is built into our genes as all of us are created in the image and likeness of God. Thus it flows from our humanity.
Its major heresy is universalism.
Catholicism, on the other hand, which of course has as its ethos serving the poor and marginalized, especially within our own families, is about orthodoxy (right belief) and orthodpraxis (right behavior, or correct morality).
If traditional Catholicism is rigid and easily at a breaking point because of it, progressive Catholicism is like a reed blowing in the wind; it can't stand up to anything because it bows towards all. Its substance is doss.
Of course my camp is the best camp, traditional, open to change and orthodox and pastoral at the same time. Concern for the poor and marginalized is present and services are provided. But clear Catholic identity is asserted amidst the confusion that the world provides. It is counter cultural, swims against the tide and is willing to face martyrdom, white or red, for its principles.
To answer my question in the title of this post, my answer is no with a codicil. Traditional Catholicism and Reform of the Reform in Continuity Catholicism can be united and coexist very well. Progressive Catholicism is the most divisive form of Catholicism out there because it isn't Catholic, it is post Catholic, post Christian. It needs to die and and it is through nature.