Tuesday, June 14, 2022


Pope Francis strikes again with his infamous off-the-cuff interviews. This time he heavily criticizes the USA (which per capita has more Catholics attending Mass each Sunday than most other parts of the world except maybe Africa and the Philippines.) The USA tends to be a religious country, although secularism is catching up with what is happening in Europe and decades ago. 

I'll post two headlines and one comment by the Bishop of Oakland, California, he himself a Jesuit, I believe:

From the NCR:

Pope Francis: 'Significant' number of US Catholics want to 'gag' Vatican II reforms

From the National Catholic Register (the other NCR):

Cardinal Zen: In Vatican II, Catholics Hear ‘Real Voice of the Holy Spirit’

 Oakland’s bishop in the Wall Street Journal this weekend. This is what Bishop Michael Barber, SJ said the follow which I lift from The Pillar

In a June 12 Wall Street Journal report, Bishop Michael Barber, SJ said that while McElroy opposes abortion, the cardinal-elect apparently thinks “it’s not wrong enough that you need say or do anything about it or interact with the politicians who are publicly promoting it.”

Barber noted that McElroy speaks out on other political issues, including migration, but is reluctant to speak about abortion, the Journal reported. For his part, McElroy pushed back on that charge, with a spokesman saying that McElroy does speak out about abortion. 

Still, Oakland’s bishop told the Journal that Cordileone was “prophetic,” while adding that the San Francisco archbishop and his San Diego counterpart embody “two forces in the Church right now” — with McElroy representing the concerns of Pope Francis, and Cordileone stressing the approaches of Pope St. John Paul and Pope emeritus Benedict XVI.

My Comments:

There are two major schools of interpreting Vatican II. For Pope Francis to denigrate the last two pontificates and all they tried to do for the proper interpretation of Vatican II seems to me to be pouring gasoline on the possible schism that this pope is fomenting or at least continues to polarize the Church even more so than it ever was in the 1970's.  

While there are Catholics, some who comment on this blog, who think Vatican II should be done away with, they are a small minority of vocal rad trads. But they aren't as numerous as the German liberals who are trying to destroy the Church post-Vatican II or pre-Vatican II. They are the bigger concern for the number of people they represent and the power they have over those they will force to eat their pork (Bratwurst). 

I have consistently said that we have to follow Vatican II, the actual Council, not the Council of the media which Pope Benedict used to call it.

Pope Benedict gave us a hermeneutic for interpreting the Council. Pope Francis is giving another. Which is infallible and who will win?




Fr Martin Fox said...


The worst enemies of Vatican II are not those who think it was terrible. It is those who, in the name of defending or advocating for Vatican II, make people miserable, and that results in those people blaming Vatican II, rather than it's putative advocates.

When Vatican II happened, it was generally well received, because it seemed to be about the following:

- Use the local language at Mass.
- Get along better with Protestants and other religions.
- Be a little more flexible about everything, for example, religious orders.
- Appreciate Scripture more.
- More lay involvement.

Now, of course I'm oversimplifying Vatican II itself; my point is how it filtered out to the ordinary Catholic. And I submit that the propositions above were then, and are today, overwhelmingly popular.

But what happened next?

- The older form of Mass was almost entirely suppressed; those who liked it couldn't have it.
- the new Mass was a free-for-all, in very many cases, an embarrassment and a scandal.
- parish churches were devastated.
- religious orders collapsed.
- catechesis became vacuous and at least one generation was very poorly formed in the faith.
- popular devotions were actively discouraged, such as Eucharistic adoration and processions.

I will pay real money to anyone who can credibly demonstrate that any of these moves enjoyed strong support from lay Catholics at any time from 1970 onward.

To be continued...

Fr Martin Fox said...

So, this is the context in which a "traditionalist" movement arose. Very simply, people noticed. And they spoke up. And, of all ironies, the new Church leadership that spoke so highly of the laity being given a voice, were absolutely opposed to this voice.

Those -- clergy and lay -- who were running things through the 80s, 90s and so forth, continued the same program, ignoring the concerns of those who objected, ignoring the real evidence of the failure of their project.

This posture of contempt and condescension toward "traditionalists" did most of the work in building the traditionalist movement. Yes, of course you have always had those who claimed, from the 1960s, that Vatican II was going to be a disaster. But who actually went ahead and gave those prophecies credence? Not Lefebvre and the SSPX; it was the self-described "Vatican II" prelates, pastors and lay collaborators in hundreds of dioceses and thousands of parishes, who carried out the program. (And lest there be any lack of clarity: I maintain that what they did was not intended, not authorized, not true to, Vatican II.)

And when people said, this isn't good, this isn't what we want, they were and still are demeaned.

How can anyone actually be surprised that given this history, some number of people survey the landscape and conclude, hmm, maybe Vatican II was a bad idea? Hmm, maybe we should just rewind the tape to 1962? Note well: in drawing those conclusions, faithful Catholics are reacting far, far less to invented narratives of incorrigible throwbacks, but rather, almost entirely, from the handiwork of those who claim to be devoted to Vatican II.

There is a social media outlet called "Libs of Tiktok" that reposts actual, bizarre TikTok videos to a wider audience, letting everyone see what crazy looks like. Let me reiterate, they simply repost content created by people who think their content is good and wholesome. But when it gets a wider audience, it is "Libs of Tiktok" who get denounced.

Something similar has been happening to so many faithful Catholics. They see with their own eyes the wreckage created by those who claim to love Vatican II. They talk about it. They react to it. And who is denounced? Those who say what they see, not those who caused the wreckage.

Here's some free advice which isn't wanted. If you really wanted to win over traditionalists to seeing the value of Vatican II, make more effort to show that what traditionalists love is not threatened by Vatican II; that it is all compatible.

Huh: sounds a lot like what Pope Benedict XVI did with Summorum Pontificum.

TJM said...

Father Fox,

As always you are a good read and a voice of reason. I saw today that some French archbishop banned seminarians from wearing cassocks because they are a sign of “clericalism. “ This mystifies me because at some stage in the seminary process they do become clerics. This is what passes for “leadership” in France where 60% of the dioceses there ordained no priests this year. This particular seminary had 10 ordinands. The archbishop is either crazy or evil or both. The end of this pontificate can’t come soon enough - a bunch of nasties that make the pre-Vatican clerics look quite benign.

Jerome Merwick said...

Father Fox, your comments are spot-on and a breath of fresh air. The state that the Church is in today is a reflection of the liturgical euthanasia the "Cite Vatican II, But Don't Read It" crowd has imposed upon us. The "reformers" and iconoclasts who came prancing in with their guitars, cupcakes and balloons are now on life-support and will never admit that their "new Church" had no historical basis, no support and no legitimacy.

I especially like the irony of your observation--100 percent true--that the biggest enemies of Vatican II are its advocates. I may not live to see it, but, as Kay Corleone said to Michael, "This must all end!"

And it will.

TJM said...

I guess Cardinal McElroy is fine with this:

We’ve already witnessed two dozen different firebombing attacks on Christian groups, pro-life pregnancy centers, and public officials, with the latest being an attempt to burn down the office of a state official in Oregon. It seems obvious that this is some sort of organized effort to destroy the property of someone’s ideological adversaries rather than an organic coincidence. Now a group has publicly claimed responsibility for these attacks, or at least is trying to do so. As our colleague Katie Pavlich reports at Townhall this week, an online collection of pro-abortion extremists connected to Antifa, calling themselves Jane’s Revenge, has issued a dire warning that there will be more firebombings to come and suggesting that much worse will happen as well.

Hint: I don't think Republicans are doing this!

TJM said...

I see our resident political priest is radio silent on his Party's attacks on pro-life pregnancy centers. Strange.