Tuesday, December 8, 2015
I AM LEFT SCRATCHING MY HEAD AT ONE PARAGRAPH OF POPE FRANCIS' HOMILY FOR THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION
This is what His Holiness said this morning about the missionary zeal of the Church that Vatican II wanted to recover:
Before all else, the Council was an encounter. A genuine encounter between the Church and the men and women of our time. An encounter marked by the power of the Spirit, who impelled the Church to emerge from the shoals which for years had kept her self-enclosed so as to set out once again, with enthusiasm, on her missionary journey. It was the resumption of a journey of encountering people where they live: in their cities and homes, in their workplaces. Wherever there are people, the Church is called to reach out to them and to bring the joy of the Gospel. After these decades, we again take up this missionary drive with the same power and enthusiasm. The Jubilee challenges us to this openness, and demands that we not neglect the spirit which emerged from Vatican II, the spirit of the Samaritan, as Blessed Paul VI expressed it at the conclusion of the Council. May our passing through the Holy Door today commit us to making our own the mercy of the Good Samaritan.
My Comments: Yes, prior to Vatican II the Church was in a defensive mode, but she went to the New World and converted complete nations to Christ and her Church. A South American pope should know this.
Yes, the Church was condemning this, that and the other prior to Vatican II but she went to Africa and Asia and made great converts.
Yes, the Church was triumphalistic before Vatican II but many saints came to the USA and Canada to convert the native people many of whom were martyred for their missionary zeal!
I don't know what Pope Francis means that Vatican II recovered the Church's missionary zeal. In fact soon after Vatican II there was a push not to evangelize people of other religions and converts to the faith dropped dramatically. That has shifted over time, but Vatican II misunderstood immediately in its "spirit" aftermath saw a declilne in missionary zeal not an increase.
But yes, Vatican II did call for missionary zeal but not as if it didn't occur prior to Vatican II!
It does seem to me that Pope Francis is contradicting the prevailing notion immmediately following Vatican II that we didn't have to be missionary when in fact Vatican II said no such thing. It taught us to engage the culture in order to win converts, who freely choose the Church.
What is condemned is proselytizing and forcing conversions, which in fact did happen in the Americas with the native, indigenous populations.
But even in forced conversions--there was a great zeal, a fanatical zeal prior to Vatican II. We threw the baby of zeal out the window when we got rid of fanaticism.
I fear Pope Francis has made a false distinction in his homily about the missionary zeal of the Church prior to Vatican II. It was there and greater than in the immediate aftermath of Vatican II.