Saturday, July 14, 2012


Please note my comments at the end of Cardinal Siri's remarks way back in 1975!

"The perennial revolution of the Progressives"

Thoughts of Cardinal Giuseppe Siri from the "Rivista Diocesana Genovese", January 1975

First, confusion was sown in the field of ideas. […] Then, after having sown confusion about the Faith, the foundation of everything, morality was attacked so as to render the norm null and void and give freedom of expression to every human act.

At this point, exterior elements that “held together the ecclesiastical structure of the Clergy” were attacked with whimsical confusion in innumerable cultural events: the religious habit, seminaries ... . Then, in place of Heaven, the idea of a sociological paradise on earth was introduced, of a “perennial revolution” instead of peace, and symbolic value was given to the worship of a Lord, by this time, confined to the mist.

Priestly celibacy was attacked, even by teachers, ignoring that the Church had never been able to better and lead the people there where celibacy was abolished. The latest and ongoing discovery: discussing matters that are defined, as if they were not, as if they were not from Jesus Christ Himself. Not everyone has arrived at this level, many have retreated behind the lines without realizing the consequences of the intermediate states. Others, at the same pace, have skipped everything and everyone. Nevertheless, we still have the people, who are good and whom God is evidently looking after.

Slogans abound, while catechism is not taught; “pastoral” is continually mentioned, while sacred ministries are gradually abandoned; there is talk of the Word of God - yet it is taught as if it were all a fairy tale. There are dissertations about closeness with God, while at the same time the Most Blessed Eucharist is mocked or ridiculed. At least in practice. And all of this is progress!

MY COMMENTS: At the time that I was most confused and most questioning of so much, faith included, the time of my profound adolescence from about 1967 to 1974, so too was the Church in a major crisis of unbridled, zit producing, adolescence. The Church having been a rock of certitude up to the Second Vatican Council had suddenly become a marshmallow of incertitude. While it gave one a bounce, it was usually a bounce away from the truths of Catholicism into heterodoxy or just plain anarchy in one's personal and communal life.

By the time I got into the seminary of the fall of 1976, the Church was in full crisis and redefining itself against the Church prior to Vatican II. In fact, as I have stated many times here, the worst insult any Catholic could receive was to be labeled as "so pre-Vatican II!" By that, it was meant you actually believed in the teachings of the Baltimore Catechism, liked more formal liturgy even if in the vernacular and wanted nuns in habits, and priests with a priestly identity and not living their lost adolescence publicly or privately. You were "so pre-Vatican II" if you thought celibacy shouldn't be questioned and the Church should have a strong discipline and that virginity wasn't a four letter word, nor chastity.

When I read Cardinal Siri's lament about the Church in 1975, we have an eye witness to Church history of the post-Vatican II Catholic culture up until that point and it is accurate, accurate, accurate.

In terms of the attack on the faith and from within and from those who should have been our shepherd, bishops, priests, nuns and brothers as well as theologians, there was also a decisive attack on traditional Catholic morality in this period of time that would be termed the "new morality" which in retrospect was really the Church's "old immorality."

It is not surprising to this eyewitness to Church history and the seminary culture of the time that the greatest amount of sexual abuse of adolescent boys as determined by the John Jay Study of the sex abuse crisis in the Catholic Church happened precisely in the year 1974!

Everything in the Church was in flux, not only traditional doctrinal and dogmatic beliefs, but sexual morality itself! Who knew most about the theological and moral melt-down in the Church that was being promoted at "renewal?" It was the bishops, priests and religious of the Church who were reading these new theological writings, and most of whom were being informed by the National Catholic Reporter. I read it at that time and through the 1980's and 90's as though it was the Bible!

While the NCR still is a rag of a paper appropriate for the bird cage or as fish wrap, back in the 1970's and 80's it advocated (AS IT STILL DOES) out right rebellion against Church authority and against anything traditional in the Catholic Church and at the same time, as ironic as it was, it broke the sex abuse scandal in the early 1980's in the most self-righteous way, while never taking some responsibility for it in inspiring a generation of Catholic priests who read their paper as though it was the gospel, who took their radical liberal drivel to the homes of unsuspecting parishioners and their adolescent boys.

All that Cardinal Siri writes above about 1975 is true and we have yet to recover from it. The reform of the reform and interpreting Vatican II within continuity of what preceded it will help us to come out of this dark night of the collective soul of the Church, but time will be needed to see the generation who promoted all this bad stuff die off, those who are reaching retirement age today!


And on a related note, Mark Silk who blogs for Religion News Service, writes the following piece that is depressing but true and which is still the elephant in the room of the Catholic Church and until it is identified and purified, there won't be much forward motion in the Church's healing and recovery, but healing and recoverery will come about by God's grace and our acknowledgement of sin and repentance from it and the necessary penance even if it is secular penance, time in prison:

Blogs » Mark Silk - Spiritual Politics
What if Catholic Church = Penn State?

Mark Silk | Jul 13, 2012

Imagine an alternate universe where the Catholic Church behaved the way the trustees of the Pennsylvania State University have when confronted with evidence of the cover-up of sexual abuse of minors by the leadership of one of its important institutions.

Let's call that institution the archdiocese of Boston, headed by one Cardinal Bernard Law. And let's say a newspaper, the Boston Globe, published an investigative series showing a disgraceful pattern of covering up sexual abuse of minors by a large array of priests.

Faced with the evidence, what does the Vatican do? It turns to a distinguished law enforcement official--say, a former head of the FBI--to conduct an independent investigation. The result? To paraphrase yesterday's report on the Penn State affair:

The most saddening finding by the Special Investigative Counsel is the total and consistent disregard by the most senior members of the archdiocese for the safety and welfare of the child victims.

Not only are the perpetrators of abuse indicted and convicted, but so are the masters of the cover-up. Cardinal Law and his immediate subordinates land in prison.

The pain and humiliation are great, not only for the perpetrators but for the many who held the now disgraced officials in the highest regard. But the larger institution, the institution that is far greater than the sum of the sinful individuals in charge of it at any given time, comes out with its moral credibility restored. It has confronted its own failings, and insisted that justice take its course. It weathers the storm.

Of course, we do not live in that alternative universe. We live in the one where Penn State behaves a lot better than the Catholic Church.


Anonymous said...

Moral Compass:
the loss of which has created so much havoc in the lives of the religious and therefore the lives of the laity who have to interface between the Church and the secular world.
The laity constantly have to straggle between two worlds..the Church and the secular world.
So when the clerical and religious who are supposed to be the guideposts and reminders of proper morality lose their own Moral Compass..what does one expect to be the result? The laity get confused, don't know how to handle life's situations, and many fall away.
When the Shepherd forgets how to shephard, the sheep run amock...
When the guardrails are removed, cars drive off the fall off the bridge when a skid occurs...

The good news is that the pendulum is swinging back to center, thanks to efforts like those of THIS blog.
For some reason God must have decided the Church needed a shake-up, and so He gave it a big giant shove.


Gerbert said...

I have a great respect for Cardinal Siri, he would have made a great Pope, won't get into that issue! His insight is spot on and we are paying the price today for the progressives irresponsible direction or lack of direction. The Catechism of the 70's was non existent I speak from experience as a student of the Catholic school system of that time. In one aspect humans and computers are the same, you put garbage in you get garbage out!

John Nolan said...

Siri was papabile at no fewer than four conclaves. It has been suggested that he was elected in 1958 and 1963 but refused to accept the elevation. In 1978 the liberals still saw him as a threat and Basil Hume (Westminster)organized a 'stop Siri' faction.

However, it is one thing for senior churchmen to lament the appalling state of affairs, and another to actually do something about it. I admire Giuseppe Siri, but I admire Marcel Lefebvre more. It would be about 1975 that I attended a Mass celebrated by the latter in a function room of the Great Western Hotel, Paddington (no London church would offer him hospitality). He had founded a successful traditional seminary at Econe after first having obtained the permission of the local Ordinary. A later Bishop of Fribourg then tried to pull the plug, and a spineless Curia backed the bishop.

He was not the only prelate to be shamefully treated in that dismal decade - witness the way Cardinal Mindszenty was treated.

Bill Meyer said...

Cardinals Siri and Ottaviani were true heroes of the Church. Also the late Michael Davies, who did so much in his writing to document the madness that was the time after the Council.

Add Monsignor Wrenn, whose writings on the failings of catechesis are essential, as well.

Review the writings of these fine men, read yet again "The Rhine Flows into the Tiber", by Fr. Wiltgen, and then the Syllabus of Errors, and the Oath Against Modernism.

Thus armed, you will be ready to read the writings of any of our bishops, and to discern the true position they have taken. Not only with respect to the liturgy, but with respect to living the faith, including our responsibility as citizens.

That many have failed us does nothing to reduce our own responsibility.

Anonymous said...

I think Siri did what he could considering his position. He didn't want to ruin his chances at becoming Pope or lose his positions of influence as archbishop of Genoa or as head of the Italian Bishops Conference. It was recently published recently in an Italian newpaper from his diary “Pius XII said I had to succeed him, and was preparing for me the same system that Pius XI had prepared for him.” Then there was white smoke 2 days before John XXIII but they said it was a mistake. The video of the the smoke is linked below, but of course it would be ridiculous to suggest that he was threatened. Funny how the greatest moral authority on Earth floundered after that particular conclave.