Wednesday, April 30, 2014


Henry said...
"While it is true that 'liberals' claim 'good Pope John' as one of their own (despite the evidence) and regarded JP II as a reactionary,"

Which is truly ironic. As shown clearly by the recent of NLM articles by Peter Kwasniewski on the writings of John XXIII, he was utterly traditional with regard to liturgy, ecclesiology, doctrine, and spirituality. Arguably considerably more than John Paul II. In particular, he was in particular a passionate over of the traditional Mass and its spiritual ethos.

Not only did the liberals hijack Vatican II, they committed highway robbery in fencing John XXIII as one of their own. For his intent in convening Vatican II was to send the triumphant Church of the 1950s out to conquer the world--in a true new pentecost, rather than the collapse at the hands of liberals that followed Paul VI's council--armed with the glories of traditional faith and liturgy.


I think, though, we would need some accurate sociological data concerning the Church in Europe in the post-war years and the accelerated secularism occurring there especially in light of the atrocities that Hitler had committed with the assistance of religious people. 

The USA has had a similar accelerated secularism with the scandals of religion, whether that be radical  Islamic terrorism, the various scandals of high profile television evangelists or the sex abuse crisis and scandal in the Catholic Church that has led to an ambivalence and disregard for religion in general and Catholicism and evangelicalism in particular. 

The 1950's Church in the USA was at the apex of the Church's golden years in the 20th century only to have that success hijacked by liberals in the Church throughout the world, but particularly here in the USA. Religious life was strong, priesthood was strong and so were vocations and strong Catholic families centered on parish life, schools and other social services usually organized by women religious such as hospitals, soup kitchens and other assistance to the poor, especially immigrants to this country.

The Liturgy was not criticized by rank and file clergy and laity well until after tinkering with it was allowed.

Religious life was respected as was the priesthood and Catholic families had no problem encouraging there sons and daughters to enter this kind of service to the Church.

What could have really accelerated the success of 1950's Catholicism was what Vatican II actually tried to accomplish before it was modified by liberals in the most dastardly way after Vatican II. These would have been:

1. A conservative approach to modifying the liturgy to include some vernacular, a wider use of Scripture in the Lectionary and clearly encouraging Catholics toward actual participation both internally and externally without denigrating their popular and private devotions.

2. Slight modification to religious life to make their lives a bit more comfortable concerning habits and discipline in the convent and monasteries, but without sacrificing either habits or discipline within the context of communal living, and a common apostolate that members are called and sent to serve apart from them choosing this, that or the other.

3. Better understanding of Protestantism and other religions not to mention those with no religion or no beliefs. But the purpose of this to invite all to the true Church and its fulness without sacrificing the cultural and visible characteristics of the Roman Rite.

4. The appropriate ecclesiology that does not undermine the Magisterium of the Church or Dioceses and parishes on the local level

5. Addressing clericalism in the clergy and making sure the laity are not clericalized but that their primary ministry is to take to their faith to the world and public square

What we will never know until we get to heaven is what the Church in 2014 would be like if we had properly implemented what Vatican II actually taught or if there had been no Vatican II. I can't wait to find out once I get to heaven!


Rood Screen said...

It is my impression that the average cradle Catholic is unconcerned about the spiritual fate of non-Catholics, and lacks confidence in the attractiveness to non-Catholics of Catholic liturgical tradition, moral teaching and canonical discipline. Therefore, liturgical, moral and disciplinary debates within the Church tend to be focused less on evangelization, and more on the extent to which individual Catholics should feel constrained by the Church. Popes, therefore, are evaluated according to their promotion/restriction of individual Catholic's freedoms, rather than according to the evangelical (not to be confused with mere "public relations") effectiveness of their respective papacies.

Anonymous said...

Most good historians of the Catholic Church have pointed out that it usually takes anywhere from 50 to 100 years to actually implement general council very well. Usually there are factions within the Church who tend to ingnore or scue the teachings of these general councils for many years and the problems after Vatican II are not new in the history of the Church with regard to implementing Councils. It was a hundred years before the bishops of france began to actually follow the ordinances of the Council of Trent. Further, there were already abuses to the liturgy prior to Vatican II, otherwise Pius XII would not have written so strongly against these abuses(Mediator Dei). Further, if there were not liturgical abuses prior to Vatican II wich concerned the Pontiffs, then why in the heck was one of the very first things Pius X wrote as Pope have to deal with the abuses of liturgical music. Pius XI continued attacking such abuses. The chaos that occurred after Vatican II was not a result of the Council or Popes, but rather the result of a buildup within the Church of dissent that finally reared its ugly head and popped, and now we are actaully finding (as Benedict XVI said) that we are using Vatican II to bring the Faith and Tradition back to its former glory. To claim all the chaos after Vatican II is the result of the Council or the Popes is to in fact be ignorant of history and papal writings.

Rood Screen said...


I agree with what you've said, although I would note that the more problematic innovations of the 70's and 80's were made with explicit reference to the recent council, so that it appeared to many that VCII was being implemented quickly and completely.

Rood Screen said...

Fr. MacDonald,

A question I have is, given that Benedict and Francis both insist upon the continued application of VCII, how are we to apply such things as Sacrosanctum Concilium today, especially at the parish level? It would be helpful if the Holy Father himself, or at least each diocesan bishop, would go through this constitution line by line telling us what to do with it.

Anonymous said...

I think it's most accurate to say the problems flow from Vatican II and those dissenters who predated the Council. After all, they seem to have taken over at the Council and planted their dissent into the documents.

Vatican II was like an anti-Trent in terms of implementation. Whereas establishing seminaries and things in the wake of Trent would necessarily take decades, it took a mere 30 or so years for Vatican II to reduce most religious orders to nothing. I don't think one could have planned for a more efficient way to cause a mass apostasy.

Rood Screen said...


Which paragraphs from VCII documents contain dissent from Sacred Tradition? The four constitutions appear very well balanced to me, and become problematic only when bits of them are divided from the whole.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I don't have much hope for the time being of a radical shift in the order of the Mass as we have to live with what Pope Paul VI promulgated.

As far as I can see, even when the black is read and the red is done, the biggest problem with the current Mass is music and its various styles and sloppiness.

The only way to deal with that is by edict and I don't see that happening. What we see at the Vatican Masses with Pope Francis is the ideal in terms of music, but once you step outside the Vatican and into Rome proper, the music is abysmal.

The Vatican Masses with Msgr. Marini are well executed and are a model, but no one sees it that way, but these are models that could help in making the OF more like the EF.

Catholic said...

JBS, perhaps when I say this dissent was "planted in the documents", I have the same meaning in mind as your suggestion that the documents must be read as a whole without division. Perhaps the dissenters placed certain things that are legitimate when viewed holistically, but that they knew could later be used to support their dissent.

The whole "subsists in" debate comes to mind as an example.

(Sorry I forgot to sign my last post)

Anonymous said...

How about the appointments of bishops and Curia personnel? If John 23rd appointed orthodox clergy than I might be convinced that he was less liberal than most people believe. Who can shed light on that? We didn't end up with 300+ bishops in the USA writing pastoral letters on the economy and nuclear disarmament while the seminaries were actively recruiting gays to the priesthood which resulted in, you know what,because John 23 and Paul 6 did a great recruiting job. I can't comment on the rest of the world at the time but I suspect it was little different in regards to the quality of the bishops.

John Nolan said...


The situation regarding music is not a Novus Ordo problem; it is a direct result of the Gadarene stampede to vernacularize everything in the years 1964-1967, coupled with an extreme interpretation of what was meant by 'full, conscious and active participation'. In this scenario the text and the musical quality of its setting were less important than the fact that congregations could sing in their native language. Composers and music publishers could start from scratch, since the 1500-year-old musical heritage of the western Church was to all intents and purposes obsolete. And as James MacMillan has trenchantly observed, most of these compositions were dire. In the absence of anything else, there were vernacular metrical hymns to fall back on.

The Novus Ordo kept the music of the old Mass (the sung Propers of the Graduale were retained, although some rearrangement was necessary, and the sung texts of the Ordinary were unchanged, with new chants for those parts of the Mass which were new, or had not hitherto been sung, e.g. the first reading and the Greeting and Penitential Act. These can all be found in the 1974 Graduale Romanum.

Rood Screen said...

John Nolan,

I think the use of the Low Mass on Sundays also contributed to the problem. Legislation in force at the time permitted vernacular music at a Low Mass, but specifically forbade any sort of translation of the Propers or other Mass texts when composing this essentially non-liturgical music. Therefore, with the issuance of the reformed missal in 1970, congregations had little instinctual reason to react against strange new compositions that were truly foreign to the Roman liturgical tradition.

John Nolan said...


Yes, it's remarkable that a century which began with Tra le Sollecitudini, the revival of chant led by Solesmes, a new interest in and knowledge of Renaissance polyphony (as in the work of RR Terry at Westminster Cathedral, which earned him a knighthood) should have ended as it did.

Desirée said...

I accidentally bought that book to give to a friend before I became Catholic, or even properly educated on Catholicism. I didn't realize it was a modern thing. I threw it away when I did.

Why do we sing songs written by Wesley? Some of the heretic's stuff is ok? I didn't know there were shades of grey.

Gene said...

Desiree, Wesley was nuts, I mean like a four alarm head case, but he did write a few good Christological hymns. In fact, there are quite a number of doctrinally proper, Christological protestant hymns that would not be objectionable to Catholics. "Near the Cross" comes to mind, as does "My Faith Looks Up to Thee."
But, you have to be careful. Scratch anything by Fanny Crosby (who gave us the memorable line,"…my spirit pants for thee.")

You mention Wesley and Methodism pops into mind…which seems to be, in many cases, where the Catholic Church wants to go. Baptists are too "sola scriptura," and Presbyterians have too much doctrine for our trendy modern Catholics. Plus, nobody protestant or Catholic wants to dialogue about TULIP theology anymore. Too bad.

Desiree said...

I agree that Wesley wrote some beautiful hymns, but it doesn't make sense to me to sing his songs in the Catholic Church. I wish I could find the words right now to explain how I see it. Just too much grey going on there for me.
I left the Methodist church for the root of Christianity. I want nothing but what Jesus started. Nothing but Catholicism.
People can enjoy Protestant hymns outside of the sanctuary. Jesus in our church, and we are singing heretic's songs to His house. Just seems like pouring alcohol on an open wound to me.

Gene said...

I understand what you are saying, Desiree. A clean break is best…and I do not completely disagree. But, from a Christological standpoint, prots are not completely wrong.

John Nolan said...

I assume we're talking about Charles Wesley, who was the prolific hymn-writer. It's a bit unfair to call him a heretic because he happened to be born an Anglican at a time when Catholics were still subject to the Penal Laws. As Macaulay shrewdly observed, had John Wesley been born a Catholic he would have founded a religious order and laboured for the greater glory of the Church. As it was, both John and Charles Wesley encountered such hostility from the Anglican establishment that secession was more or less inevitable.

The Wesleyan doctrine on prevenient grace is closer to the Catholic position (as defined by the Council of Trent) than it is to the Protestant one.

Desiree said...

The Methodist faith may be close, but when I was Methodist I was not Catholic.
Catholicism was well-rooted in Wesley's time. He could have been Catholic if he had wanted. Just like myself, or any other convert.
He started his own church instead. Isn't that what Luther did? Both rejected Catholicism and started their own churches.
Sorry if I seem harsh, but I am done with watery Christianity. I need what Jesus started, and what His apostles have continued.

Gene said...

Interesting thoughts on prevenient grace, John. Haven't heard it discussed in a while. It is an Augustinian concept, except that Augustine believed that prevenient grace cannot be resisted. Indeed, Augustine's doctrine of prevenient grace is exactly what Calvin's doctrine of Irresistable Grace is based upon. Augustine did not take it as far as Calvin and, I believe, Augustine had a more acute awareness of the difficulties surrounding free will and election. Perhaps it would be fair to say that Calvin was concerned with irresistible grace, while Augustine was more concerned with irresistible sin. Non posse non peccare...

John Nolan said...


Catholicism in England was not deep-rooted in the Wesleys' time; in fact it had been largely eradicated as a result of the revolution of 1688. Conversion was not a practical option. It only became so in the 19th century. Neither John nor Charles Wesley intended to found a Church, and both died as Anglicans. The Catholic Church in her ancient wisdom knew how to harness enthusiasm to her purpose and mission. The Church of England had become too comfortably middle-class by the 18th century to accommodate this, despite (or perhaps because of)the fact that its clergy were university educated and produced some of the best theology since the Middle Ages. Also, they had the example of the religious anarchy which had prevailed in the Civil War period only a century before.

On a level playing field one might compare the different denominations and choose which best suits, but it's only recently that such a situation has prevailed. I sometimes wonder why non-Catholics convert to the post-Conciliar RC Church, although far fewer do than did before the Council. Of course, the once staid CofE has overtaken Rome on its headlong gallop towards moral relativism and perhaps they think that only Rome can apply the brakes.

Desiree said...

I stand corrected and take back what I said about Wesley starting his own church. I somehow forgot that. There is such a huge devotion to him in the UMC that it morphed in my head to him starting the church. I learned the history several years ago, and have been seeing the devotion since then up until last summer when I left the church.
Thank you for the history refresher.
The Catholic Church and Anglican mix is fairly new to me. Your reply has me reading up on it now.

I'm realizing now how paranoid I'm getting about Protestantism infiltrating the Church!