As I have written before, I will write again, Vatican II and it’s spirit we’re implemented in the most pre-Vatican II way possible. And John Allen thinks Pope Francis is the most centralizing dictatorial pope ever while using the spirit of Vatican II’s decentralizing collegiality language more than any other pope ever:
If nothing else, this article reinforces what history teaches us about "reformers" who instigate sweeping changes: They often resort to tactics that would appear to contradict their very goals.
If we take the word "reformer" and attempt to neutralize it from any stigma, just making changes often means confronting structures that are so firmly in place that the reformer is forced into a confrontational stance, often with institutions or cultural norms that require a "wrecking ball" to so much as move. Peter the Great could only liberalize Russia by executing thousands of non-cooperatives and using dictatorial power. Martin Luther King Jr. could only get white Americans to care about civil rights by suffering the abuse of a corrupted justice system and eloquently proclaiming his case to anyone who would listen. Napoleon attempted to impose Enlightenment values on Europe by becoming the very thing the French Revolution purported to denounce: A despotical monarch. Reformers are not necessarily bad men or good men, but we seldom meet any who are great men, human nature being what it is. Most often they find themselves trapped by forces that resist any good they desire to bring or seduced by the power they sought to cleanse for us.
So what of Francis? I still say he is a symptom. Pope John wanted to "open the windows" of the Church to let in some "fresh air", but as time moves forward it increasingly appears that he unlocked the gates of the fortress of faith and let the enemy forces come in and do as they pleased. The "reformers" of Vatican II were disobedient bishops who discarded John's schemata for his council and "crashed the gates" of the institutional process with their impatience and demands. We've had over 50 years now of a Church struggling to find her identity and Francis seems to be just one more pontiff determined that he is going to shape it.
The problem is, the Church's identity has already been shaped and determined by nearly 2 millennia of pontiffs and saints and the sheer arrogance of one or two generations believing they have a mandate to upend what Christ established and others paid to preserve with their blood is reflected in the utter failure and tailspin nature of the post conciliar Catholics who cannot make peace.
I think they are, for the most part, looking in the wrong direction for the answers. Satan has a great talent for confusion, distraction and misdirection. We have a great talent for forgetting how vulnerable we are.
Vatican II reminds me of the guy who hired a contractor to just replace his countertops to update his kitchen. He told the contractor he was going on a short vacation and the contractor promised he'd finish before he returned. When the guy returned, he found that the contractor had not only replaced the countertops, but all the kitchen cabinets which he had picked out himself. He also replaced all the appliances although the ones already there worked just fine. The guy was shocked to see all the extra changes and when he asked the contractor why he had done all that without consulting him, he told him he thought that's what he wanted when he said he wanted to update his kitchen and so just went ahead and did what he thought best.
Well according to Dr. Taylor Marshall this morning, the purge of the traditional Latin mass has begun, starting in Dijon France the archbishop of Dijon has ended The F.S.S.P. Latin masses starting September 1. So it is written so let it begin, he has effectively kicked out the Priestly fraternity of Saint Peter, I’m sure if they were protestants or Muslims they would be welcomed in Dijon. And you wonder why people join the SSPX, I asked this time and time again over the years what are these bishops Cardinals and priests so afraid of the traditional Latin mass? Can it be they know the TLM is the true mass of all times and their fear and hatred of it is what drives them to destroy it.
Again for over 40 years we keep hearing that Vatican II did NOT want to do away with Latin, Gregorian chant, high altars, kneelers, communion rails, statues, confessionals, the organ, altar boys, incense, bells, and any thing else remotely Roman Catholic so if anyone out there has an answer in a very short explanation by all means you tell me how the whole Church was turned upside down into a Protestant denomination?????
Vatican II fathers did not intend, I don't believe, to open Pandora's box and certainly neither did Pope John or Pope Paul. But open it, they did and unleashed in an uncontrolled way the forces of Catholics, clergy, laity, religious, who wanted change, loved change and were of the 1960's generation which thought they were invincible when it came to what they wanted. New and improved and thinking outside the box were mottoes of that generation.
Keep in mind all of these people who affected change way beyond the scope of Vatican II were Catholics formed by the more rigid, superficial and authoritarian pre-Vatican II Church where paternalism and maternalism triumphed. The laity were children and taught to obey and obey many did and others in leadership, not so much.
In addition, the new push for ecumenism and rejoining divided Christians fell upon these Catholics to accomplish, so a more protestantized Catholic Church in structure, liturgy and outreach, to include church architecture was the way to fool Protestants into thinking we surrendered to the Protestant Revolution and there was nothing to fear by all of us becoming one big happy diverse church.
I don't recognize the pre-Vatican II Church you describe. Maybe I was lucky. I grew up on the University of Notre Dame Campus where the priests were friends, the Mass at the Basilica amazing with Gregorian Chant and Sacred Polyphony, and nuns (other than a few) that were actually joyous, young women. I feel bad you did not experience that Church. Perhaps that is why I thought Vatican II and the "reforms" were a HUGE mistake and did nothing to better the lives of the Faithful, although it liberated a lot of clergy from the rules, their habits, and the need to actually learn Latin and Sacred Theology. I had my picture taken with Giovanni Batista Cardinal Montini when he received an honoris causa degree when my father graduated from Law School there. The Church kind of went to Hell in a hand basket after that but somehow, I will not give up.
Much of the animus directed at the "preconciliar" Church are just self-serving distortions providing a fake contrast with the intent of selling the masses a warped vision of the past so they'll be grateful of how "enlightened" and "liberated" the "New Church" is.
We also live in an age of historical revisionism. Watch any western film made up through the 1950's and compare it with neo-westerns made after the 1970's. While the old west certainly wasn't the simplistic good guy/bad guy universe of Gary Cooper and Audie Murphy, it wasn't he morally ambiguous landscape of corrupt sheriffs, hooker-in-every-hotel room, hypocritical preachers and widespread x-rated profanity either. We are conditioned (as Pius XII so prophetically predicted) to be ashamed of our past or else believe that every previous generation was a degenerate as we've become today. Both extremes are caricatures, but even worse, they are inaccurate. And there is no more beloved target for distortion than the Catholic Church.
Of course the one thing we need to remind ourselves--repeatedly--is that Vatican II did NOT define itself as a "reform" council. The documents are not demands for "reforms". Vatican II defined itself as a "pastoral" council (whatever that is). There is a key element of "reform" councils noticeably missing from Vatican II's texts: ANATHEMAS.
Could it be that the "medicine of mercy" had not been properly tested and the Church is still suffering from its adverse side effects?
I think we need to get a bit more realistic when assessing the goals of the current pontificate. In that respect, Francis should not be called a "reforming" pope.
I would suggest:
The Iconoclastic Pope?
The Deconstructing Pope?
The Revisionist Pope?
The Low-Information Catholic Pope?
The Alta Vendita Pope?
The Pope of the Enlightenment?
The Pope of the Worker's Paradise?
The Pope Who Was Planted by the Enemies of the Church?
The Pope Padre Pio and St. Francis Warned Us About?
The Pope of the Covered-Up Third Secret?
The Pacman-Mama Pope?
The Pope We Deserve?
Perhaps someone else has some suggestions?
I am not so pessimistic about this pope. We must look to how the HolySpirit is using and will use this papacy for His Divine purpose/Providence. This pope has brought us back to 1960/70’s chaos, thus allowing an entirely new generation or two to see the silliness and tragedy of this reforming mentality. This pope is fomenting schism on many fronts and will not be a good legacy for His Holiness.
I suppose after my cynical litany, I should apologize. However, I cannot deny that I have HUGE reservations about the current pontiff, and I had them from the moment he walked out on the balcony after his election. It was almost visceral. My "sixth sense" told me something was not right...not right at all. The public admissions from the members of the St. Gallen group confirmed that for me. St. Francis' Peronist style and his return to chaos confirmed it for me.
But I will qualify those observations by also saying that I do not hate him. I pray for him, I pray for God to give me more love, compassion and patience for him and I respect the office of the papacy and, to the best of my ability, will obey him, so long as he does not require that I disobey God in doing so. And finally, I ask us all to pray for him. Let's not just pray, let's fast or make some small sacrifice on a weekly basis for him. He's got a heavy burden, as does any pope.
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