Sunday, October 10, 2010

Catholic radio: gratitude for Blessed John XXIII and Vatican II

I had the radio tuned to Ave Maria Catholic Radio this afternoon as we drove to Flint for a special anniversary Mass celebrated by Bishop Boyea. Some programs and speakers hosted on this Catholic radio station I have found genuinely substantive and interesting. At some point, between programs, when the station inserts some short promotions, there was about a half-minute spot in which a gentleman's voice came on the air, not as a caller on a program, but as a featured spot, and said that he wanted to take just a moment to reflect on how grateful we should all be for the Second Vatican Council and Blessed Pope John XXIII whose vision led to it.

Needless to say, that grabbed my attention. A couple of thoughts crossed my mind. I couldn't imagine that one of retired Bishop Gumbleton's trendy-lefty gang would be on Ave Maria radio offering his take on the Council, although one never knows. After all, I'm a tyro in these parts of Eastern Michigan. What do I know? What I sincerely hoped for was someone like John Lamont with something genuinely sensible, positive, substantive, new and interesting to say. No such luck.

Now keep in mind that this is not a transcript of a digital recording or anything, but merely what I can reconstruct from memory -- and that the on-air spot could not have been longer than a half-minute, or maybe a minute at the most.

What the gentleman said is that we all owe a debt of gratitude to Blessed John XXIII and to the Council born of his vision for the gift of something new and indispensable, which the Catholic Church would not have had were it not for them. The gift of the Pope and his Council, he said, is the ability we now have to communicate the Gospel in a new, "pastoral way" (his term), so that the modern world can hear and readily understand and receive it.

Thud.

I can think of some positive statements on Vatican II that I've read and would be willing to endorse, but this is not quite one of them. This guy made it sound as if the Church had never heard of the need for evangelization or translating the Gospel into language intelligible to foreign cultures prior to Vatican II. Which makes me wonder how he thinks our pagan European ancestors became Christians. As for modern times, what about the massive network of Jesuit and Franciscan missions in India, China, Japan, Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Argentina in the 17th century, which occurred well after the Middle Ages and voyages of global discovery in modern times. What are people thinking nowadays when they say such things?

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13 comments:

Roger said...

The new "pastoral way" is just what the misunderstanding of VII is all about. Somewhere along the line this pastoral way has nearly eliminated any intellectual pursuit for understanding the true meaning of the gospel in place of a gospel message that is simply "follow your heart." Yes we need to have a companionate heart to love our neighbor and an open mind, but not an open mind where our brains fall out. I believe VII to be a fantastic set of documents that if read completely will illuminate our faith with the power of the Holy Spirit. I have always known Catholics believe faith in action. Since when is simply saying something to someone enough. If I merely said I love you without confirming my love in real action it's empty. The two are intrinsic to each other (words and works) and if you understand and read VII you will find it there. Modernism isn't dead it's just been repackaged and sold as VII, which VII is not.

Anonymous said...

I have been told over and over again that when a person is declared to be a Saint, that that the declaration is infallible because it is a matter of faith. This is something that I have had a difficult time getting my head around. Does anyone know of any statement by a pope, or a council stating that it is a matter of faith to believe that the declaration of sainthood is infallible. I realize that this question is not all that grammatical but its late. :)

Donna

Anon said...

I appreciate your thoughts on this topic.

In recent years the Catholic Radio that I have access to has been heavily diluted. I have only little experience with Ave Maria Radio, but years ago I remember it being orthodox in its presentation. Relevant Radio and EWTN have also been diluted.

I am not saying that those sources are completely unworthy to listen to... but that are for sure not what they used to be.

Anonymous said...

I can't quote the passage, but I must convey the opinion which is accredited to Msgr. Marcel Lefebvre: "This will utterly destroy all missionary zeal." Further, from Cardinal Heenan, "If what we saw yesterday is what is planned for the liturgical reform, in 20 years, we will have a church of women and children only."

Perhaps all the value of Vatican II remains undiscovered?

Jordanes said...

Does anyone know of any statement by a pope, or a council stating that it is a matter of faith to believe that the declaration of sainthood is infallible.

Two considerations:

1) Look at the wording of the formal decree of canonisation, and compare it to the requirements for an ex cathedra declaration as defined by Vatican I. It reads like an ex cathedra declaration.

2) Would God really allow the Church to encourage (not just permit, but encourage) devotion to thousands and thousands of persons who may not, after all, be in heaven and might not really be models of sanctity?

JM said...

A good conservative history of the Council, and a new translation of its documents, seem very needed.

Ralph Roister-Doister said...

The V2 story most often heard by Catholics is that the great knights of the Vatican II council, unlocked their word-hoards and created documents luminous with Catholic truth, but transformed in a truly miraculous way into a “pastoral” form perfect for the needs of the twentieth century. They released these documents to great applause amongst themselves, though in truth, many simpletons of the pews were exceedingly puzzled. Still, heels were a’kickin’ up through out the land – until one dark and stormy night, wizards of modernism cast an evil spell among Catholics, so that suddenly all were blind to the unique wonderfulness of these documents, and were only able to see in council documents, and in the statements of council leaders, bizarre modernist perversions of Catholicism. The brave leaders of the council were aghast – aghast! I tell you! – yet helpless, so insidiously powerful was the spell cast by these modernist sorcerers. Since that fateful time, the brave knights of Vatican II have labored to put an end to this evil spell, and allow the spellbound masses to see these documents in their rightful luster once again. It is a story worthy of C S Lewis.

But there are a few “inconvenient truths” to it. First of all, among these great knights of the council were a great many modernists, who exerted powerful influence upon the documents: Lercaro, Frings, Montini, Lienart, de Smedt, Wojtyla, Schillebeeckx, and, at the time, Ratzinger – it is a very long list. Second, the documents the council produced, under the influence of these and many other modernists, are rife with ambiguities that lend them to the modernist excesses of the seventies, most of which persist, in attenuated form, to the present day. The punchdrunk days of the post-counciliar “Spirit of Vatican II” sprang from subtleties of the documents themselves, not from some magic spell introduced from without. And, far from being cast off, the “spirit of Vatican II” has been consolidated by the last three popes (excluding John Paul I, who died before his intentions could be made clear), and has become the “law of the land”, so to speak. Inconvenient precounciliar doctrine has been left in the deep freeze, where the liturgy of the ages was stored until Benedict, a former modernist who now defends the council in far more mincing terms than he did in the sixties, justly and graciously restored it to something vaguely resembling its former preeminence.

This is a very long story, that is now only beginning to be told. If you are interested in reading about it, you might start with three works, “The Rhine Flows Into the Tiber” by Ralph Wiltgen (a modernist himself and head of Council News Service during the entire life of the council), “Pope John’s Council” by Michael Davies, and “In the Murky Waters of Vatican II” by Atila Sinke Guimaraes.

Ralph Roister-Doister said...

The V2 story most often heard by Catholics is that the great knights of the Vatican II council, unlocked their word-hoards and created documents luminous with Catholic truth, but transformed in a truly miraculous way into a “pastoral” form perfect for the needs of the twentieth century. They released these documents to great applause amongst themselves, though in truth, many simpletons of the pews were exceedingly puzzled. Still, heels were a’kickin’ up through out the land – until one dark and stormy night, wizards of modernism cast an evil spell among Catholics, so that suddenly all were blind to the unique wonderfulness of these documents, and were only able to see in council documents, and in the statements of council leaders, bizarre modernist perversions of Catholicism. The brave leaders of the council were aghast – aghast! I tell you! – yet helpless, so insidiously powerful was the spell cast by these modernist sorcerers. Since that fateful time, the brave knights of Vatican II have labored to put an end to this evil spell, and allow the spellbound masses to see these documents in their rightful luster once again. It is a story worthy of C S Lewis.

But there are a few “inconvenient truths” to it. First of all, among these great knights of the council were a great many modernists, who exerted powerful influence upon the documents: Lercaro, Frings, Montini, Lienart, de Smedt, Wojtyla, Schillebeeckx, and, at the time, Ratzinger – it is a very long list. Second, the documents the council produced, under the influence of these and many other modernists, are rife with ambiguities that lend them to the modernist excesses of the seventies, most of which persist, in attenuated form, to the present day. The punchdrunk days of the post-counciliar “Spirit of Vatican II” sprang from subtleties of the documents themselves, not from some magic spell introduced from without. And, far from being cast off, the “spirit of Vatican II” has been consolidated by the last three popes (excluding John Paul I, who died before his intentions could be made clear), and has become the “law of the land”, so to speak. Inconvenient precounciliar doctrine has been left in the deep freeze, where the liturgy of the ages was stored until Benedict, a former modernist who now defends the council in far more mincing terms than he did in the sixties, justly and graciously restored it to something vaguely resembling its former preeminence.

This is a very long story, that is now only beginning to be told. If you are interested in reading about it, you might start with three works, “The Rhine Flows Into the Tiber” by Ralph Wiltgen (a modernist himself and head of Council News Service during the entire life of the council), “Pope John’s Council” by Michael Davies, and “In the Murky Waters of Vatican II” by Atila Sinke Guimaraes.

Tawser said...

I once attended a Mass celebrated by an elderly priest who preached about the New Pentecost brought about Vat II. I controlled myself during Mass but afterwards I could not stop myself from approaching the priest and commenting that in my humble opinion Vat II renewed the church the way President Truman renewed Nagasaki. He stared at me uncomprehendingly.

Roger said...

Ralph:
You call Wojtyla a modernist, how so? You call VII largely a modernist set of documents and cite a couple of writers! Please explain in something more concrete please! Give us a quote and explain how you see it so.

Sheldon said...

Vatican II did not contain any infallible definitions. Contrary to the statements of Sedevecantist literature, nothing the Council said can be regarded as officially teaching heresy. If it was a genuine ecumenical council, as it appears to have been, then a faithful Catholic must believe that it's final decrees were protected by the Holy Spirit from teaching error, so its documents cannot be dismissed simply as wrong.

As on commentor said before in a post like this some months ago, one needs to distinguish between the work of the council, which was the production of its documents, and the intention of a large number of the Western bishops and periti at the Council, which was the subversion of the Catholic faith. The work was protected by the Holy spirit, in the sense that most of the statements in its documents can be understood in a Catholic sense. It might have be nice if some of the statements were clearer, and not so obviously the product of compromise between the old guard and the modernists; but the resultant ambiguity is one of the weaknesses of the Council with significant damaging results to the Church at the hands of revisionists, who "disambiguated" the Council's statements from their modernist perspective when it came to interpreting and applying its principles.

The further protection of the Church depended on the Council Fathers and bishops of the Church interpreting and steering the Church in a positive direction -- in what the Holy Father now calls the direction of a hermeneutic of continuity. Unfortunately, that was largely lacking after the Council, as the fruits testify -- self-centred and irreverent liturgies, abandonment of the intellectual heritage of Catholicism, tacit toleration of (especially sexual) sin, and the abandonment of the traditional ethos of Catholic life, shaped by her devotions and customs marking our quotidian and yearly passage of time on our journey to Eternity.

Ralph Roister-Doister said...

Roger,
JP2 consolidated the influence of V2 within the Church. JP2's ecumenical excursions to Assisi, his Koran-kissing types of stunts, were the essence of the new "People of God" Church broached at V2. At the same time, he was disinterested in the jejune matters of discipline, which could have done much to rein in the worst of the transgressors -- his lack of interest amounted to indulgence, if not outright support. Granted, he didn't celebrate any pizza masses, but what else could you call him if not a modernist?

As for my insufficient citations: I don't know what in the world you expect from a blog comment, and I'm still waiting for your intellectually intricate and exhaustively cited blog comment defending V2 documents, but the books are there, read them. The authors are Fr. Ralph M Wiltgen SVD, Michael Davies, Atila Sinke Guimaraes, and above all, Romano Amerio.

There is a great deal more, by Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Louis Bouyer for example, that is no longer in print. Hmm, maybe someone should inform Fr Fessio, so that Ignatius can rush out new editions of the "The Devastated Vineyard" and "The Decomposition of Catholicism"

Sheldon,
The "pastoral" escape clause has been cited many times. The modernists themselves basically insisted that the documents were pastoral in nature for exactly as long as it took to get the majority of council members to ratify them. After ratification, their language began to change, and Pope Montini, in his final address to council participants, spoke of their fruit in terms ususally reserved for doctrine, not merely for documents of pastoral efficaciousness. Funny how that works, isn't it?

Well, as council peritus, consummate modernist, and accused heretic Fr Schilebeeckx promised a Dutch journalist in 1965, “we will express it in a diplomatic way, but after the council we will draw out the implicit conclusions.” Exactly so.

Roger said...

Ralph:

Since you have failed to use anything but gross gratuitous assertions instead of concrete facts from quoted sources it will be hard to penetrate your thinking. Let us look instead at what you have to say. Your quote, “JP2 consolidated the influence of V2 within the Church” is difficult to glean meaning here, but if you mean that the pope of all people should help to implement the thousands of participating bishops, not to mention the Holy Spirit, vision for the Church, isn’t that a good thing? And your implicit derogatory remarks on ecumenism are reaching for the absurd, are we as Catholics not to reach out and love our enemies, or didn’t you get that memo? I wouldn’t say he was disinterested in discipline and granted I agree more should have been done, but this is an ongoing problem and we will see where it goes. I’m not and did not ask for exhaustive citations as you have asked. The defense of VII is really quite simple if you believe the Holy Spirit is guiding the Church, then again if you don’t I can see you’re of questionable faith. You are obviously frustrated and for this you can take a pill and go lay down.