Thursday, August 26, 2021


I have been saying for quite some time that the Church is still in the battle of which interpretation of Vatican II that will be followed. There are two schools of thought from the same generation of aging Catholics many of whom have one foot in the grave. They are symbolized by the schools of thought of Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis. There is hardly any continuity between those two in any meaningful way. And certainly Pope Francis has done almost everything he could do from day one to distance himself from the papacy of Pope Benedict and to reverse almost everything that the Emeritus Pope and the sainted Pope John Paul II tried to accomplish in wake of Pope Francis’ school of thought developed right after Vatican II and which they heroically tried to reverse. 

I never dreamt that a new pope following these two great popes would be able to reverse their trajectory. But has His Holiness Pope Francis actually reversed it?

As I mentioned, these two schools of thought are from the same dying generation and mostly held by septegenerians  and octogenarians. I am very much of Pope Benedict’s school of thought. I appreciate much of what Vatican II wanted to accomplish. I despise its spirit of rupture though that is promoted subsequent to the Council and teaches that Vatican II wanted this, that and the other when there is absolutely no indication of it when one looks for it in the Council documents.

A retired archbishop in Argentina captures my sentiments exactly. TJM brings this to our attention:

There is an excellent article at Rorate by Archbishop Emeritus Aguer which I think you would enjoy reading.

Here is a snippet from his article:

The current Pontiff declares that he wishes to pursue even further the constant search for ecclesial communion and to make this purpose effective, he eliminates the work of his predecessors by placing arbitrary limits and obstacles to what they established with intra-ecclesial ecumenical intention and respect for the freedom of priests and faithful! It promotes ecclesial communion in reverse. The new measures are a regrettable step backwards.

My comments: With Pope Francis, I have always experienced a return to the radical days of theology that I experienced at St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore of the late 1970’s. I really believed that everything that Pope Francis desires was to be implemented by my generation of priests by the turn of the century, twenty-one years ago. But because of the papacies of John Paul II and Benedict, that did not happen.

I thought it was a new trajectory and would continue, but we’ve hit a road block.

Let me be clear. I do not reject the perennial magisterium of the Church or Vatican II. I have studied all the documents of Vatican II and these seem traditional to me. It’s the spirit of Vatican II that I have difficulty with because you can’t nail it down, it shifts with the blowing winds, just as progressive Catholics do. That’s why there has been no successful attempt at schism because they are all over the place unlike the Eastern Orthodox and the SSPX (yes, I know they are not quite in full schism, but they are organized enough and all the same page to effect one!). 

Once this aging group of bishops and clergy are gone (I am in this category) what do you think the younger generation of Catholics, John Paul II Catholics who also loved Benedict will do?

How many younger Catholics, even those well into their 40’s and early 50’s think Pope Francis school of retrograde theology is the way forward? 


Thomas Garrett said...

Thanks to John Paul II and Benedict XVI, we have been permitted to rediscover what the handlers of Paul VI wanted us to forget: The traditional sacraments

However, because of Paul VI and his successors, especially Francis, we have an almost 60 year record of wild inconsistency, disparate factions and a free fall of consistency that has cost us dearly in terms of respect, vocations and, most sadly, souls.

We have been fattened for the slaughter that is yet to come.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Your objection to the nebulous "Spirit of Vatican Two" is also something that is very hard to pin down and apply to the Church in general. What does it mean to you?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

What is good Liturgy?
What is good pastoral care?
What is good catechesis?
What is good ecumenism, interfaith dialogue and dialogue with the world on the parish level?
What is good pastoral councils? Finance councils and lay authorit?
I will let FRMJK do his homework and get back with us with his answers to the spirit of V2.

TJM said...

Well since only 30 percent of OF attendees believe in the Real Presence, some serious reflection should be going on, and if need be, the OF overhauled to be in greater continuity with the EF since almost 100 percent of its attendees believe in the Real Presence

John said...

Much of the Council documents rehash long settled Catholic truths. These truths were for centuries the treasures of the Church, the road leading to salvation. The rebellious Council managers and most/many participants fund this road too narrow. So, they chose a wider road. For example, Christian Unity, ecumenism lately talked about on this blog.

"In the conciliar decree UNITATIS REDINTEGRATIO, the instruction of 1949 is never mentioned, and the word return, reditus, never occurs. It is replaced by the idea of convergence. That is, the different Christian denominations, including Catholicism, should turn not to each other but towards the total Christ who is outside all of them, and upon whom they must converge." (Iota Unum p.550). St.Pope Paul in 1963 reiterated tradition teaching that the separated brethren "lack that perfect unity that only the Catholic Church can give them." He went on to say that the threefold bond of this unity was constituted by a single belief, a sharing in the same sacraments, and due adherence to a unified ecclesiastical government.

The document Unitatis Redintegratio rejects the idea of a return of separated brethren and adopts the idea of a simultaneous conversion on the part of all Christians.

The net result of this documents is drop in conversions, political character of ecumenism, and movement toward non-Christian ecumenism (Assissi prayer happenings; Pacha Mama, kissing the Koran; not all of them equally egregious).

I would recommend to your attention John 17 to meditate on Christian unity.

DJR said...

Sanctus in Greek, parish in Germany.

This is a Catholic Church "in full communion" with Pope Francis. Catholics are bound, under penalty of mortal sin, to attend if that is the only thing available to them.

Of course, the nearby SSPX priests are schismatics and heretics, and attendance at their Masses is forbidden.

"My dear daughter, listen well to what I have to say to you. As I told you, if men do not repent and better themselves, the Father will inflict a terrible punishment on all humanity. It will be a punishment greater than the deluge, such as one will never have seen before. Fire will fall from the sky and will wipe out a great part of humanity, the good as well as the bad, sparing neither priests nor faithful. The survivors will find themselves so desolate that they will envy the dead.

"Each day recite the prayer of the rosary. With the rosary pray for the Pope, bishops and the priests. The work of the devil will infiltrate even into the Church in such a way that one will see cardinals opposing cardinals, and bishops against other bishops. The priests who venerate me will be scorned and opposed by their confreres, churches and altars sacked; the Church will be full of those who accept compromises and the demon will press many priests and consecrated souls to leave the service of the Lord. The demon will be especially implacable against souls consecrated to God. The thought of the loss of so many souls is the cause of my sadness.

"If sins increase in number and gravity, there will be no longer pardon for them. With courage, speak to your superior. It is Bishop Ito, who directs your community. You have still something to ask? Today is the last time that I will speak to you in living voice. From now on you will obey the one sent to you and your superior. I alone am able still to save you from the calamities which approach."

DJR said...

Additional note to my prior comment: Not sure why it's called the "Sanctus" by the priest. Perhaps they sing that afterwards but it's not depicted?

In any event, what is being sung during the... spectacle... is not the "Sanctus" but is actually the Trisagion (in Greek), which some of us hear every liturgy.

rcg said...

It isn’t clear to me what PF wants to happen. Working from the most recent MP back through other events in this papacy it seems that he is aware of the pending schism in part, but not in whole. He is correct that the Traditionalists are not happy with the direction the Church is being led, but he seems to believe, correctly, that Traditionalists will generally remain in the Church while the progressive groups are likely to leave if they cannot edit God’s law. About the only consistent characteristic of his papacy has been the hands-off approach to challengers of Church teaching and doctrine in (apparent) hope the person will find the way back to orthodoxy or confirm his own damnation. This makes “who am I to judge?” remarkably like “who cares?” So it seems that Pope Francis allows this to continue because the deviant will eventually either see the correct path, or consciously reject it. He avoids the unpleasant parts of his clerical duty believing the final judgment will be self evident without an unpleasant confrontation on Church teaching. This is the Jesuit rejection of proselytization. But is it accurate to avoid correction even of those who proclaim the Faith and are even in a clerical state? Ironically, he seems willing to have confrontation with people who are weaker by position or nature.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

John - "Convergence" does not appear a single time in Unitatis Redentigratio (UR). Amerio's idea that UR holds that, "...the different Christian denominations, including Catholicism, should turn not to each other but towards the total Christ who is outside all of them..." is not based on the document at all, but his (Amerio's) own dislike for the ecumenism, ecclesiology, and biblical criticism.

There is no such thing as "non-Christian ecumenism." Two terms are used when referring to dialogue between Christians and non-Christians - "interreligious" or "interfaith."

TJM said...

I don't know if the majority of the hierarchy is frozen by fear that if they take the necessary steps to do what needs to be done (enforce liturgical law (remove the scofflaws from parishes) and teach the unvarnished truth) their brother bishops will shun them, or the Pope will remove them, or they simply do not care in the mode of Louis XIV: Apres moi, le deluge

Tom Makin said...

Benedict was on the right path and Pachapapa Francis has gone far left. I'm 56 and have no desire to continue on the Pachapapa road.

TJM said...


Salvaging Catholicism should be a priest’s number one concern not pursuing “ecumenism.” When we had confidence that the Catholic Church was the one true Church of Christ we tried to convert them. Now we pander to their false doctrines

John said...

Fr. K

The gist of Amerio's analysis is correct. He correctly analyzes the document in question. (When this volume was released Benedict XVI praised it very highly.) The UR does not advocate incorporating other Christian sects into the Catholic Church through conversion. (The current Holy Father would label such efforts -brace yourself- "proselytism")

UR is about sees endless dialogue. Convergence is the only logical outcome of such process unless Catholicism has something special to offer that our dialogue partners find irresistible (Catholic Christian Truth).

Inter-religious or inter-faith are weasel words. The net result is selling out the truth of John 17 for some stale, moldy porridge. I am curious. As a Catholic priest do you see non-Catholic Christians embracing the one True Church, Catholicism, desirable? If not, why not?

TJM said...

Meanwhile, in the formerly Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago, this is going on:

A priest in Libertyville, IL, was required by Card. Cupich to cease praying the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel publicly after Mass. People can say it silently on their own, but they can’t pray it collectively. He was also told not to say a Hail Mary after Mass. Yet liturgical abuses run rampant in this Archdiocese. A parish I used to belong to when I lived there continue to use reprobated Mass texts and nothing is done by the Cardinal.

However, in the still Catholic Diocese of Fort Wayne - South Bend, this public prayer after Mass still occurs in many parishes. I guess the "Karens" have not gotten to the bishop here yet

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

John - I would challenge you to point to the passages in UR that support or encourage "endless dialogue." And I would challenge you to cite the passages in UR that support or encourage "convergence."

The great encyclical Ut Unum Sint - That They May Be One - by Saint Pope John Paul II would correct the misunderstandings you have of the work of the Church regarding ecumenism and the fears you have about what the work seeks to attain.

I am sure there are many things about which you are curious. I am curious as to why you think that you can simply dismiss as "weasel words" the standard terminology used by the the Church, from Popes to Laity, to describe dialogue between Christians and dialogue between Christians and non-Christians.

John said...

Fr. K

I have not heard any protestant group coming out of an ecumenical discussion session with the Catholic party smacking their foreheads saying: but of course the Pope (Peter) - not Luther- has been right all along. Single individuals or families after reflecting on their faith often come to us but not as a result of any "inter-faith" confab. Of course we loose plenty of baptized Catholics to protestantism too. These individuals do not see much difference between V-2 Christianity and the Freewill congregation down the street who may be offering a better musical selection, and or demand a more faithful commitment to the 10 commandments than their NO parish. The greater tragedy is when our brethren just leave.

Once the CDF had a theological discussion with the SSPX. (Would that be an intra-faith ecumenical dialogue?) That did not work either. Rumor has it the SSPX presented its theological positions, you know, positions we all held and understood until the theological wrecovations came to us out of the blue. Maybe SSPX reps. spoke but failed to smile. Whatever the story the CDF representatives turned thumbs down on the whole affair. It is somewhat of a head scratcher because we have been told V-2 Council did not change any dogmas, that the entire exercise was Pastoral. Why could they not agree on the novel interpretations of old doctrines if no dogmas were changed by the Council? I do not think this was made known ever.

Seriously, why not read Amerio's take on the Council controversies. Or you might prefer Memoirs by Fr. Louis Bouyer. It is a shorter volume than Iota Unum yet well worth your time in my opinion.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

"I have not heard any protestant group coming out of an ecumenical discussion session with the Catholic party smacking their foreheads saying: but of course the Pope (Peter) - not Luther- has been right all along."

If that is what you were expecting, then I suggest the expectation may be the thing that needs reconsideration.

"Rumor has it the SSPX presented its theological positions...the CDF representatives turned thumbs down on the whole affair."

Maybe their positions were not in keeping with the Church's teaching. Being SSPX does not mean that a representative or group of representatives automatically presents the faith accurately.

Seriously, point out where UR, "...supports or encourages "endless dialogue" and where UR supports or encourages "convergence."

John said...

Hang in there Fr K you'll get it one of these days.