Monday, June 10, 2013


In today's homily at the chapel of his residence at the Vatican Motel 6, Pope Francis decried Catholics who pick and choose when it comes to being Christian. This is what the Holy Father said:

Reflecting on the daily readings the Pope began by noting that, at the beginning of the Second Letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul uses the word consolation several times. The Apostle to the Gentiles, he added, "speaks to Christians who are young in the faith," people who "have recently begun to follow the path of Jesus", he insists on this, even if "they were not all persecuted." They were normal people, "but they had found Jesus." The Pope said this "was such a life-changing experience that a special strength from God was needed" and this strength is consolation. Consolation, he said again, "is the presence of God in our hearts." But, Pope Francis warned, in order for the Lord "to be present in our hearts, we must open the door”. His presence requires our "conversion":

"This is salvation: to live in the consolation of the Holy Spirit, not the consolation of the spirit of this world. No, that is not salvation, that is sin. Salvation is moving forward and opening our hearts so they can receive the Holy Spirit’s consolation, which is salvation. This is non-negotiable, you can’t take a bit from here and a bit from there? We cannot pick and mix, no? A bit of the Holy Spirit, a bit of the spirit of this world ... No! It’s one thing or the other. "

Others have been commenting that there has been a loss of Catholic identity in parishes and that those who what orthodox Catholicism have to pick and choose where they will go to Mass. One person stated that if his job didn't depend on him living in a particular community, he would move to a city that was an EF Mass community as that would assure pure Catholicity.

There is no doubt that in the last 50 years there has been a dramatic loss of Catholic unity, identity and mission precisely because the bishops and the pope caved into political pressure from special interests groups in the Church and very early. These groups were self-stylized academics, usually theologians, but not always, who wanted to refashion and re-imagine Catholicism in an ecumenical and interfaith way.

Liturgical theologians deconstructed the 1962 missal and made it ecumenical and flexible and encouraged priests to bring their personality to it. Ritual action was reinvented and the traditional hymnody associated with a Sunday Low Mass (four hymns inserted, but no singing of the actual Mass) was thrown out in favor of contemporary folk sounds that have now morphed into Hollywood tunes with religious words and Protestant or non-denominational vapid worship and praise ditties all of which are normally devoid of Catholic theology, doctrine, piety and spirituality.

The former Sung Mass became diluted to the point that any priest or liturgy committee could decide what would be sung and what wouldn't. There are no real rules or rubrics. And contemporary sounds were brought into the parts of the Mass and Gregorian chant jettisoned.

The worse thing to happen to the Sung Mass was the explicit option in the GIRM that the official Introit, Offertory and Communion Antiphons could be substituted by other kinds of music. This was and is an utter disaster although congregations like hymns and modern sounds.

With the deconstruction of the Mass and then its further destruction by priests and liturgies committees that made it banal, horizontal, hip and meaningless, other aspects of orthodox Catholicism were dismantled, including the devotional life of the parish and private devotions of individual Catholics at home or elsewhere. Even devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary was dismantled and ridiculed. This led to the iconoclasm of the traditional looking Catholic Church building, but worse yet, its sanctuary and the location of devotional relics.

Then morality was tackled and debated usually revolving around natural law as it concerns sex, artificial contraception and marriage. Situational ethics became highly touted, in other words the dictatorship of relativism.

Then theologians tried actually to change doctrine and dogma surrounding the sacraments, especially that of Holy Matrimony and Holy Orders. The push for female ordination and same sex marriage which are intertwined as well as dumbing down Jesus Christ to the point of making him a buddy, more human, less divine became the norm.

There were those questioning the Immaculate Conception, Virgin birth and Assumption. There were those questioning the miracles of Jesus in the Gospels and these were made up by those who put the oral tradition into writing. The bodily resurrection of Jesus was called into question. Hersey, pure and simple is what this was and is.

Catholics of a liberal or progressive ilk of this period of the post-Vatican II Church found all of this quite exciting. They had lost their orthodox Catholic faith and were inventing weak, vapid substitutes for it and trying to make the Magisterium accept it so they wouldn't feel guilty or outside the tradition of the Church. They almost succeeded!

They didn't expect the Holy Spirit to put a stop to it with the election of Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict and now Pope Francis.

But now these aging radicals think that they still can accomplish what they have failed to do on an institutional level and in a bout of nostalgia are trying to make a comeback with their same old routines similar to the ill-fated Life with Lucy show in the 1980's that was canceled after three episodes because an old Lucille Ball could not recapture the youthfulness of her 1950's "I Love Lucy" show and she looked ridiculous trying to do so and tired and worn!

Pope Francis is calling all of us but especially the more radical groups in the Church such as the LCWR and the various associations of aging clergy still stuck in the 70's and thus in arrested development or a nostalgia for it and thus walking backwards rather than forward, to obedience to the Magisterium of Holy Mother Church, which of course Pope Francis defines as the Successor of Saint Peter and the bishops in union with the Pope.

Is it wrong to ridicule those who want to go back to the recent past when the Church was in free fall? No, it is not wrong to do this as they have made themselves into a caricature. Our American culture uses caricatures in cartoons to deride the ridiculous.

I think that the reason there is such harsh criticism and ridicule of these 1960's retro groups is that there is fatigue in their constantly trying to refashion the Church according to 1960's dated criteria and agenda. We're tired of it and find it the babble of aging hippies who lost the war but have been living on an island and don't really know it!

Pope Francis is calling the Church out of the cafeteria and into orthodoxy and fidelity to the Magisterium. It will take another 25 years for us to fully recover from the 1960's but we are doing so.

We must walk forward with the reform of the reform in continuity. We can't walk backwards to the 1960's iconoclasm or theology of dramatic rupture with the Catholic Church prior to 1965.

At the same time, we can't be like the 1960's clerics and others sympathetic to their aging and archaic demands by trying to go back to the 1950's. No we must follow Vatican II and revisit the documents and interpret them in the context of "reform in continuity."


Anonymous said...

But, doesn't he eat with the hoi polloi at the Vatican Motel Six cafeteria? Shouldn't a pope be eating on solid gold plates, with sterling silver cutlery, borne in by Nubian slaves, all the while listening to Mozart performed by indentured former Presbyterian ministers who are, Calvinistically, trying to prove by their humility that they are among the predestined?

Oh,what would Roger Williams do?

Garner Ted Armstrong said...

Does this mean that bishops and priests should stop picking and choosing what they are going to enforce and teach? Or are we going to keep the needle repeating the chipped groove of "preferential option for the poor" while ignoring side 2 of our disc which features that great, seldom-played number, "Humanae Vitae"?

Gene said...

Anonymous, There are no Nubian slaves. They have all been freed and are working in Washington D.C. screwing up the country. Sorry...

John said...

Vatican 2 was about picking and choosing. That is how the documents of the Council (V-2) ended up seeded with ambiguities. Pope Francis has the opportunity to do something about it, or at least try.

No, we can not return to the the 50s. But, eventually, we will have to return to 1962. The alternative is just more picking and choosing.

Time is of the essence. The question is is there a will to reform the Church's hierarchy? Without reform of the upper clergy no improvement can be expected. Do we need a new Council? Unlike the 50s, we certainly have a crisis now.

Unknown said...

John, you are absolutely correct! 100%. The ambiguities were built in and passed on purpose. This was a concerted effort by the liberals to re-define what Catholic thought and practicality is; by and large, it worked.

We lost all of the things that Father McD speaks about and furthermore, those changes are embraced by a generation that was taught to "turn on, tune in and drop out."

Lest you think that it just some hippie phrase I'm digging up, here is the whole quote, "Like every great religion of the past we seek to find the divinity within and to express this revelation in a life of glorification and the worship of God. These ancient goals we define in the metaphor of the present — turn on, tune in, drop out."

Timothy Leary went on to say about that quote he made, ""Turn on" meant go within to activate your neural and genetic equipment. Become sensitive to the many and various levels of consciousness and the specific triggers that engage them. Drugs were one way to accomplish this end. "Tune in" meant interact harmoniously with the world around you - externalize, materialize, express your new internal perspectives. "Drop out" suggested an active, selective, graceful process of detachment from involuntary or unconscious commitments. "Drop Out" meant self-reliance, a discovery of one's singularity, a commitment to mobility, choice, and change. Unhappily my explanations of this sequence of personal development were often misinterpreted to mean "Get stoned and abandon all constructive activity"."

I suppose that if you were at the Human Be-In, in '68 stoned out of your gourd, it might have made sense, but today, it is so nonsensical that his own explanation of the quote is rendered undefended.

As much as we try to separate the '60s from the Council, the Council is a product of the '60s. I think that the mentality is exactly the same...the liberalism of the post-War era was accelerated in Rome and came to a head in during Vatican Council II.

ytc said...


You will want to pay attention to the following characters:

YoungTradCath (me)

Again, READ THAT THREAD. It is one of the best Vatican II discussions I've participated in. It's very fruitful.

The conversation does evolve, and the second half is especially golden.

rcg said...

Andy, would it be fair to say that the people who thought the Liturgy of '62 had become irrelevant created a Liturgy actually captured their lack of understanding? It seems to me that the current group of Catholics energised by the '62 are not finding anything new, nothing that was not always there. But the same people who didn't teach the fullness of the Tridentine Mass decided to create something new rather than seek the relevance in the TLM. I don't completely understand how they missed it, or alternatively, why they ignored it. I still think it goes back to the mid 19th century and gained momentum in the 20th.

Kitchener Waterloo Traditional Catholic said...

I'd like to see Pope Francis put his words into action. Talk is cheap and easy to ignore. He was elected to clean up the curia and hopefully reform the Jesuits. Time's a wasting.

Gene said...

Leary was a piece of trash. Remember when he got arrested at the airport for smuggling marijuana in his daughter's panties. Nice. These are the types that love the Spirit of Vat II.

Gene said... mean he might actually bring the Jesuits into the Catholic Church?

Unknown said...

"...would it be fair to say that the people who thought the Liturgy of '62 had become irrelevant created a Liturgy actually captured their lack of understanding?"

No, I think that they intended to do exactly what they did. I think their understanding was thoroughly Protestant and I think that they intended to create a liturgy which was "accepting" of the Protestant mindset. Look at what the Protesant observers had to say regarding the changes immediately following the Council. Then look at what Card. Kasper just said. That is very telling.

Henry said...

ytc, virtually every online discussion of Vatican II "ambiguities" and their postconciliar implementations--including, unfortunately, the one you reference--is handicapped by ignorance among its participants of available information as to how the documents of Vatican II were formulated.

Full information is available for at least one of these--Sacrosanctum Concilium (the constitution on the sacred liturgy)--in the form of the recently published memoirs of the secretary of the Vatican II committee that drafted the document and presented it to the Council fathers for their final approval. Nicola Giampietro's The Development of the Liturgical Reform: As Seen by Cardinal Ferdinando Antonelli from 1948 to 1970 (search Amazon) contains Card. Antonelli's detailed minutes of the 50+ meetings in which SC was constructed. Antonnelli was, along with Bugnini, present for the liturgical reform right through from Pius XII's 1950s liturgical reform commission through the preparatory liturgical schema for Vatican II (which Bugnini largely crafted) and the Council's own commission that (sans Bugnini) reshaped it into Sacrosanctum Consilium, to the post-conciliar Novus Ordo consilium that Bugnini effectively controlled, but of which Antonelli was also a member; his meeting to meeting record of the machinations involved in the implementation of SC is also included in the book.

What these records make clear is what might be suspected but cannot be discussed informatively without such historical information, is that the documents of Vatican II were largely written not by bishops of the Council but by committees of activist experts who task was to make them acceptable to the preponderant majority of bishops who were conservative and traditional, but at the same time adequate to serve as the foundation for their intended post-conciliar implementation directed not by the Church's hierarchy but by commissions consisting of the same activists who had constructed the conciliar documents with deliberate ambiguities for this purpose.

I doubt that a proper reassessment of Vatican II--to sort out the wheat from the chaff in its documents--will be possible while a generation invested in the Council and/or formed in its aftermath still leads the Church.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Pope Francis seems to quote Pope Benedict quite frequently and so I hope and pray that "reform in continuity" will have life during and most certainly after the current papacy. The agenda is set and I can't see the generation that is now in the 40's hanging on to a 1960's ideology of the Church and the fever for change that Vatican II created in their hormones.

Unknown said...

"Nicola Giampietro's The Development of the Liturgical Reform: As Seen by Cardinal Ferdinando Antonelli from 1948 to 1970 (search Amazon) contains Card. Antonelli's detailed minutes of the 50+ meetings in which SC was constructed."

This book is a fascinating read. Utterly fascinating.