Saturday, September 23, 2023


La Croix printed this on Ecumenical Councils in a longer article I can’t access because I don’t want to spend my meager fixed income on their propaganda:

Conventional wisdom holds that it takes a century for an ecumenical council to flower and bear fruit. Altering customs and habits of thought, especially when they are linked to faith, takes a long time. Simply getting word out of a council's teaching and its implications can take decades.

Then there are people and institutions for which new directions, practices, or emphases appear as threats to ideas and practices that have taken years to master. Some people have a vested interest in preventing or holding back change.

Habits of thought that have been nurtured over a lifetime of individuals and institutions do not change easily. And so, it is not surprising that it can take a century for a council to have its full impact on the life of the Church.

My excellent commentary on the implementation of Vatican II:

To understand the meme “that it takes a century for an ecumenical council to flower and bear fruit” you have to go backwards to the early 1970’s, maybe even the late 1960’s. Back then, the implementation of Vatican II had veered off-course beginning with how the liturgy is celebrated. 

My own experience of it was that our pastor tried to explain the changes were meant to make the Mass intelligible  to the laity by two ways, the vernacular and simplification or shortening of the rites of the Mass. Both were meant to promote full, active and conscious participation.

To be honest with you, the initial attempts at the reform of the Mass were well received, especially the vernacular and the shortening of the Mass—keep in mind many, many pre-Vatican II Catholics preferred short Masses, like the early morning Low Mass-the shorter the better!

Problems developed because of liturgical theologians who went beyond the reforms to touch the style and reverence of the Mass and to change it into a more casual, banal experience. This led to the destruction of the beautiful interiors of churches and standing for Holy Communion and untrained laity distributing Holy Communion as though they were clergy (clericalization of the laity).

The other aspect that was well received, but often implemented in a poor way were parish or pastoral councils. These often devolved into a laity against the clergy sort of thing and focused on power—money matters, not pastoral. Or too much talk. 

Another aspect of the Council was the universal call to holiness of the laity. Frankly, many Catholics were holy, but saw the clergy and laity having a special vocation to it. 

A focus on social justice was and is a good thing. But Ofen it devolves into a political meme for a particular political party and often it enables poverty to continue by throwing money and services at people who are capable of finding work, hard work, to support themselves. 

The greatest disaster for the Church is the loss of reverence in the Mass and the self-inflicted loss of respect for the clergy by the laity. This has led to Catholics withdrawing from the institutional Church and embracing secular ideologies in its place or joining Protestant sects that do the Protestant thing a hell of a lot better than Catholic parishes  who play at being Protestant.

The 5% to 30% of those who actually attend Mass at least occasionally, a significant number of those don’t believe what the Church teaches, but they want to pray and meet friends. They don’t believe in  the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist and that His one Bloody Sacrifice is made present in a glorious and unbloody way at every Mass—they have a Baptist understanding of the Mass as a symbolic Last Supper. 

Ecumenical relationships have been a blessing and a curse. Some Catholics believe in universalism that you will be saved no matter what religion you choose or no religion as long as you are a good person. But being good means you can choose to abort living human beings, and flaunt any of the 10 Commandments to embrace an alien moral ideology, such as the LGBTQ+++ political agenda such as the Democratic Party promotes.

The only way to implement Vatican II by 2065 is to go back to 1965 and do it right and within continuity with what preceded—what Pope Benedict XVI desired to do. 


TJM said...

Father McDonald,

I was around when the "reforms" were initiated and reception of them was a mixed bag. For those of us trained to sing Gregorian Chant and use the Missal (largely school children in the 1950s and early 1960s) the reforms were confusing and resented. Older folks who did not have the benefit of this training were more welcoming, but not everyone. I had two uncles who were outraged and they stopped being regular Mass goers. They were pretty macho types, so that may have played into their reaction. You have discussed this before that the Novus Ordo is more "feminized." Our younger priests seem far more receptive to the TLM being a regular part of parish Masses. They are also far more likely to celebrate the Novus Ordo with TLM sensibilities. What is left of the Church will be a far better off when these young men assume positions of authority, provided the loonies do not create a schism by ordaining women.

TJM said...

Father McDonal,

Off topic, but don't be drinking your coffee when reading this about the Archbishop of Milan who supports intrinsically evil sexual acts.

Mark Thomas said...

The correct, orthodox implementation of the Council has been underway since 1962 A.D.

Pope Benedict XVI, via his 2005 A.D. Christmas Address, acknowledge that the above had been the case decades prior to his Pontificate. But that is a given as our holy Vatican II Era Popes, guided by the Holy Ghost, could not possibly have implemented false Vatican II-related teachings.

Father McDonald, we need not return to "1965 and do it right and within continuity with what preceded..." Our holy Popes have, and will always, present Vatican II in correct, orthodox fashion.

Pope Benedict XVI acknowledged in 2005 A.D., that the "hermeneutic of reform, of renewal in the continuity" had been in place decades prior to his Pontificate.

Pope Benedict XVI declared that the hermeneutic of reform "was presented first by Pope John XXIII in his Speech inaugurating the Council on 11 October 1962 and later by Pope Paul VI in his Discourse for the Council's conclusion on 7 December 1965."

As Pope Benedict XVI had noted in 2005 A.D., as well as in 2013 A.D., the process to establish Vatican II within the Church has taken a great deal of time.


Mark Thomas

Jerome Merwick said...

Like many others in my age group (I grew up in the 60's) I have a serious case of Vatican II Fatigue. Part of the problem lies in the question: Just what is so great about Vatican II? What makes this so important?

While I don't have the education and background that others here might boast of, I have some modicum of common sense, and from all of my reading of the documents, this is about all I get out of this "wonderful" council:

1). Sacrosanctum Concilium makes allowances, under certain conditions, for some use of the vernacular in the liturgy. The iconoclasts took this ball, ran with it and gave us the unlistenable/unprayable mediocrity we suffer with now, Sunday after Sunday.

2). The pope who pushed this thing IGNORED the 3rd Secret of Fatima, by ignoring Our Lady's command to release it to us in 1960 because he "knew better". We know that Pope Benedict has said that the Akita warnings are the same as Fatima, which include massive disruptions and apostasy within the Church. Gee how could that happen? Look no further than a pope who keeps saying outrageous things we keep trying to pretend he never said. No, this enlightened pope knew best and told us he was "Opening the Windows" of the Church. The result? The demons flew right in!

3). The appendix to Lumen Gentium (the most conveniently ignored document from the Council reads, "aking conciliar custom into consideration and also the pastoral purpose of the present Council, the sacred Council defines as binding on the Church only those things in matters of faith and morals which it shall openly declare to be binding." Hmmm...unlike previous Councils that actually had a purpose, there are no "anathemas" issued for Catholics who dissent from any of the Councils proclamations.

4). The overwhelming majority of the council documents, with a few key exceptions, affirm what the Church has always taught. Yet the "experts" (I need not give you a list, since they dominate the Catholic media and have for decades) have INSISTED, "No! We need to INTERPRET this council and WE will tell you what the Church NOW teaches in this wonderful 'new epoch'!"

In short, the Council has long struck me and continues to strike me as a big, hyperinflated nothingburger. Gratefully, the fatigue that people in my age group feel and the annoying insistence of the geriatric liberals that we must change everything has born wonderful fruit: We now have a generation of younger priests who have little or no interest in this council and, sooner or later, will take the helm and correct the course of our current shipwreck. If you want evidence, just look at how this pope and his cronies continually crow about how "irreversable" the coming changes are. There would be no need to use such language were it not for the fact that they fear that their little program will indeed be reversed at some point. History will either laugh at the last 50 years of Church history or shake its head in disgust. Either way, I will be glad to see it headed to where it belong: the dumpster.

Yvonne said...

When I was in my 20's (back in the 90's) we were told it takes 50 years to implement a council. 50 years came and went but certain people didn't get the results they wanted, so now they say it takes 100 years. I think if these same people were around in another 50 years they would say it takes 150 years to implement a council. Fortunately, they won't be and, hopefully, those who are will see Vatican II as the minor council it actually was and move on from it.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Jerome - To discover what really happened at Vatican II and why it is not a "hyperinflated nothingburger" you might try reading Fr. John O'Malley's "What Happened At Vatican II." Or you can go on proclaiming that you don't have the education or the background to make substantive comments and continue posting your insubstantial comments.

As to #1 - The Council authorized further reforms: "Pope St Paul VI subsequently entrusted the work of crafting a reformed Mass to Fr. Annibale Bugnini, who had long been interested in precisely such a reformation. He was given supervision over the panel charged with a broader implementation of liturgical reform that also included the Divine Office, in addition to the Mass, (the Consilium ad exsequendam constitutionem sacra liturgia: the Council to execute the constitution of the Sacred Liturgy)."

As to #2 - The pope did not "ignore" Fatima. HE, not you, had the authority to determine how to proceed with HIS, not your, job.

As to #3 - If you read "What Happened At Vatican II" you will discover - not that's it's a secret - why that Council did not issue anathemas. Surprise, that was not the purpose of Vatican II.

As to #4 - From the time any council's decrees are promulgated, they are interpreted. Those interpretations evolve and develop over time as understanding does.

TJM said...

Fr. K Orwell who votes for Abortion as Healthcare has zero understanding of Mediator Dei or Sacrosanctum Concilium. He is a typical of his ilk. He is ignorant of the Liturgy or Moral Theology. He votes for a Party which advocates the right to kill a baby up to the moment a baby comes down the birth canal, demands funding for abortion during a pandemic, abrogates parental rights and is destroying the working class through hyper inflation. Satan loves you! Resign and work for the crime organization also known as the Democratic Party. The fact your bishop keeps you as a pastor yet enforces Traditiones Custodes tells me how badly the Catholics in your Diocese are being ministered to. You might as well have the Archbishop of Milan running things. I am thoroughly disgusted.

Mark Thomas said...

Father Kavanaugh, thank you for your comments in regard to the Council, as well as the Consilium. Pope John Paul II had praised the work of the Consilium. He declared:

"Pope Paul VI instituted a 'Consilium'...and they carried out the task entrusted to them with generosity, competence and promptness."

"The reform of the rites and the liturgical books was undertaken immediately after the promulgation of the Constitution and was brought to an effective conclusion in a few years thanks to the considerable and self less work of a large number of experts and bishops from all parts of the world."

"This work was undertaken in accordance with the conciliar principles of fidelity to tradition and openness to legitimate development, and so it is possible to say that the reform of the Liturgy is strictly traditional and in accordance with the ancient usage of the holy Fathers".


In regard to the expansion of vernaculars: Pope Saint John Paul II noted that following Sacrosanctum Concilium, bishop conferences throughout the world had petitioned Rome for permission to expand greatly the use of vernaculars.

Pope Saint John Paul II declared that Rome had determined that the above constituted a legitimate development in line with the Council.


Mark Thomas

Jerome Merwick said...


Your comment rather reminds me of how we are dealing with racial problems in America. No matter how much things change, there will always be race hustlers telling us that not only have things not changed enough, but that it's gotten worse.

I saw Father K's comments coming before I finished typing my own, as one of his favorite fallback tirades is always about how it's someone else's expertise that matters and belittling anyone he disagrees with. Of course, I could say that Earth is a planet, and he would disagree, since I was the one saying so.

And the resident buffoon's 'Oh thank you Father" kiss up blather was equally as predictable.

Even MORE predictable than all of the above is my observation--nothing ever changes in these inane conversations and I'm retiring from this one.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Jerome - YOU said, "I don't have the education and background that others here might boast of,..." so don't look askance at anyone who might agree with your assertion. I'm not belittling you; I'm agreeing with you. The choice is yours to become informed or to remain in your state of being uninformed.

When there's something I know little or nothing about, I don't then go on to make claims and proclamations about the very thing in which I am untutored.

Enjoy your retirement.

G. Poulin said...

A focus on social justice is not a good thing. It is, at best, a distraction from the real work of the church. At worst it is a replacement gospel. Jesus didn't;t tell his followers to "Go, make the world a better place." He gave them an entirely different mission.