We know that Pope Francis is quite nostalgic for the Church of the 1960’s and 70’s, the Church of his youth and heyday.
To promote the new and improved it was important to denigrate the old and useless back then. Of course, this is the theology of rupture with what preceded Vatican II which Pope Benedict knew so well and a problem he diagnosed so well. He was in no way nostalgic for that transitory past.
But not so Pope Francis. He’s still fighting what he perceived to be a 1960’s problem in the Church using the same method in 2022! Incredible.
Back in the 1960’s the hierarchy, the priests and the religious who were a part of the “spirit” of Vatican II seized the moment to promote their vision of the Church unshackled by the rigidity, clarity and so-call triumphalism of the past, the immediate past that was still in their present and in the majority of CAtholics who attended Mass, meaning about 90% of Catholics at that time.
To manipulate them into accepting that which was a new religion to them, they had to be shamed and humiliated into giving up what they were being told malformed them, made them individualistic and concerned little about the poor and social justice and being social justice warriors, breaking into military posts and damaging nuclear warheads and the like, those who did that weren’t rigid or traditional, but revolutionists that every Catholic had to follow but first they had to shed their Catholicism of the pre-Vatican II Church.
Thus in today’s homily at St. Peter’s, installing lay men and women in the new formal ministries of Lectors and Catechists, the Pope uses 1960’s language against those incredibly obstinate Catholics who still, after more than 60 years, still prefer to the older liturgy and the Church as she was.
How many are there of this kind of Catholic out of all the Catholics in the world today who still practice their Faith and go to Mass regularly? I would venture to guess less than 1% today compare to 99% in 1970. Yet you would think by listening to the pope that this less than 1% of Catholics are the real problem in 2022! This is the alternate 1960’s universe of the Vatican today.
The purple quote below from Vatican News is what the pope decried today, Sunday, January 23, 2022, not a Sunday in January in 1968. In once sense, what the pope asks is what the majority of Catholics do both individually and within post Vatican II parishes, even those that are exclusively EF parishes or a combination of both. But he acts as though the majority of Catholics are still like the 1960’s Church, making a transition to the new with many unwilling to do so. Is that the case today? This is what I heard in the late 60’s and in my 1970’s seminary. But that isn’t the Church of today, on life support with only 5% to 20% of Catholics attending Mass and 99% of those not rigid but clinging to anything new and different. Most Catholics who are not “nones” have joined non-denominational churches, other Protestants or other religions, that’s how flexible they are.
Pope Francis denounced the temptation to rigidity in the Church, which he described as a "perversion" and an "idol," a kind of modern "pelagianism" that does not change us. The word of God, he explained, does change us; it challenges and disturbs us, so that we will not remain indifferent to the sufferings of this world, which fall disproportionately on the poor. It “urges us to act, to combine worship of God and care for men and women.”
I’ve been ordained for more than 42 years and worked in a variety of parishes in that time. What is said in the purple above does not describe any parish I have been associated with nor my pre-Vatican II experiences of parishes in Atlanta and Augusta.
Do you know of any parishes or Catholics like this today?