Saturday, February 16, 2013
POPE JOAN AND THE "COUNCIL OF THE MEDIA"
In a bombshell talk, breathtaking in its clarity, integrity and honesty, on Thursday, our Holy Father, His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI said the following about the "implementation" of the Second Vatican Council, hijacked by the progressive media that focused on the following:
"There was the Council of the Fathers – the true Council – but there was also the Council of the media. It was almost a Council in and of itself, and the world perceived the Council through them, through the media. So the immediately efficiently Council that got thorough to the people, was that of the media, not that of the Fathers. And while the Council of the Fathers evolved within the faith, it was a Council of the faith that sought the intellectus, that sought to understand and try to understand the signs of God at that moment, that tried to meet the challenge of God in this time to find the words for today and tomorrow. So while the whole council – as I said – moved within the faith, as fides quaerens intellectum, the Council of journalists did not, naturally, take place within the world of faith but within the categories of the media of today, that is outside of the faith, with different hermeneutics. It was a hermeneutic of politics. The media saw the Council as a political struggle, a struggle for power between different currents within the Church. It was obvious that the media would take the side of whatever faction best suited their world. There were those who sought a decentralization of the Church, power for the bishops and then, through the Word for the “people of God”, the power of the people, the laity. There was this triple issue: the power of the Pope, then transferred to the power of the bishops and then the power of all … popular sovereignty. Naturally they saw this as the part to be approved, to promulgate, to help. This was the case for the liturgy: there was no interest in the liturgy as an act of faith, but as a something to be made understandable, similar to a community activity, something profane. And we know that there was a trend, which was also historically based, that said: “Sacredness is a pagan thing, possibly even from the Old Testament. In the New Testament the only important thing is that Christ died outside: that is, outside the gates, that is, in the secular world”. Sacredness ended up as profanity even in worship: worship is not worship but an act that brings people together, communal participation and thus participation as activity. And these translations, trivializing the idea of the Council, were virulent in the practice of implementing the liturgical reform, born in a vision of the Council outside of its own key vision of faith."
In the early days of the reform, especially in the 1960's but even through to today and actually much more today, the media went to those they thought were experts on the Church as changes starting to trickle down to parishes immediately following the Council. I can remember a story on the CBS Evening news where a group of teaching nuns had completely abandoned their habits and this was reported on the evening news. The rationale that was given by the nun interviewed was this is what Vatican II wanted, which implied that Vatican II wanted a radical iconoclasm of all things Catholic and of every aspect of the Catholic Church. This small anecdote illustrates what the Holy Father meant by the "Council of the Media." The media went looking for people to explain the Council and people who had their own agenda for the Church made it sound like that their agenda was the Council's agenda. The reporting of what these people in the Church said and making it on par with the Council Fathers and their deliberations is the Council of the Media. Was the media intentionally trying to team up with the radical iconoclasts of the Church at that time. I don't think so, they didn't know any better. But today is a different story altogether.
One of the most insidious de-constructors of religious life, Benedictine Sister, Joan Chittister (Pope Joan) just wrote the following "honoring" in the most snarky way, the abdication of Pope Benedict XVI. This is the type of person that formed the "Council of the Media." Oddly enough, she writes this "blog" on the "Huffington Post" which in and of itself is what Pope Benedict describes as the "Council of the Media!" Thank you Pope Joan for illustrating what the Holy Father said so crystal clearly:
Pope Benedict XVI's Most Powerful Gift to the Church
Sister Joan Chittister, OSB
The end of the pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI is a dramatic one. It leaves the Catholic world at a kind of ecclesiastical hiatus between two worlds. The church that brought us to Vatican II, however hard Benedict XVI tried to restore it, is more distant than ever. It is at a crossover point between a church that still looks like the past but which is now forever marked by the issues of the age which Benedict XVI confronted but could not resolve.
The Church whose identity has been forever Western and European is less Western every day and barely European thanks to its declining numbers everywhere. A whole new kind of religious pluralism is everywhere now. Religious sensibilities are no longer regional, which means that a new sense of conscious formation must be seen as distinct from either local culture or politics and cannot be privileged by either.
(MY COMMENT: This following paragraph best illustrates what the Pope said: "The media saw the Council as a political struggle, a struggle for power between different currents within the Church. It was obvious that the media would take the side of whatever faction best suited their world. There were those who sought a decentralization of the Church, power for the bishops and then, through the Word for the “people of God”, the power of the people, the laity. There was this triple issue: the power of the Pope, then transferred to the power of the bishops and then the power of all … popular sovereignty. Naturally they saw this as the part to be approved, to promulgate, to help." READ POPE JOAN'S CONFIRMATION OF THIS:)Issues of collegiality are simmering everywhere, the voice of the laity is clear, the integrity of the church itself is suspect. Its total disregard for the contribution of women to it, either as an institution or as a spiritual system, has rent the cloth right down the middle. It is a man's church -- organizationally, theologically and spiritually. But at the same time, secular society rather than the church has taken the lead in promoting the equality and role of women and a lay church which recognizes the spiritual role of women is growing up outside of it.
The attitude of the church toward gays has done as much to distance their families from the church as it has the LGBT community itself. Most obvious of all, the wound to the church as a result of the lingering effects of the sex abuse scandal is deep and costly, in more ways than one.
These are not business-as-usual organizational questions in a changing world. These are issues that touch the very core of what it means to be human, to be holy, to be Christian, to be church. They are not going to go to disappear when this pontificate disappears. They have not been addressed by this pontificate in any way that gives hope for their resolution. But they have been exposed.
The fact that Benedict XVI has very humbly admitted the immensity of the present moment for the Church and decided to step out of it in favor of someone whose energies are fresher and, hopefully, more in touch with the pastoral problems of this transition from one era to another is, perhaps, the most powerful gift of this papacy. Old laws will not save us from this time. Cosmetic changes in the church will not renew it.
(MY COMMENT: POPE JOAN'S FINAL CONFIRMATION OF POPE BENEDICT'S THESIS ABOUT THE "COUNCIL OF THE MEDIA":)As Pope Benedict clearly knows, this will take new energy, deep insight and the willingness to rethink the face of the faith from the bottom up in a world now doing experiments on Mars, grappling with a theology of evolutionary spirituality, coming face to face with all the religions of the world in every city on the planet -- and the implications of that for politics and society, as well as religion -- and breaking down barriers between "Jew and Greek, slave and free, man and woman" everywhere. It will be a contest now between attitudes and new vision. This pope is making way for that new vision. At this time in history, when the world is changing by the day, it is hard to imagine a greater contribution to the church.
MY CONCLUDING COMMENTS: What Pope Joan writes is in fact the crisis the Church is facing. The question is how to resolve it. Her method which one could metaphorically say is the method of the "Council of the Media" is to embrace these cultural fads and trends, to acquiesce to them, to become them. The Episcopal Church has done such. Does Pope Joan hold them up as a model of virtue, a beacon of light and the fastest growing Church in the world? Of course not, she's strident in her ideologies but she's not stupid!
But what is occurring and what Pope Joan disingenuously and intentionally fails to point out is that the trends she correctly sees in society and the Church are in fact sins brought upon us by a grotesque secularization of morality and the false egalitarianism of the age. She is a part of this infection and thus not the anti-biotic for it. The true Church of Christ and the true Second Vatican Council is. Or rather should I say, the true God is!
What Pope Benedict has done but cannot complete because of a lack of energy due to age, he knows must be completed by a robust pope. That awareness in a man his age is breathtaking. And in a man of supreme power, to let go of that power is equally breathtaking and to trust that the Holy Spirit will not be manipulated by the anti-popes such as Pope Joan, or the anti-Councils, such as the "Council of the Media" is equally breathtaking and inspirational, like a new Pentecost!