Commonweal, the self-styled "progressive" Catholic periodical (about which Walker Percy had some most amusing references in Love in the Ruins) has apparently come out with a new term for those opposed to what Pope Benedict XVI called a "hermeneutic of rupture." Citing examples like Catholic historian Roberto de Mattei, Vittorio Messori (who co-authored the famous Ratzinger Report in 1985), the Rorate Caeli blog, and fans of the newly-restored traditional Mass, the author of the piece, Massimo Faggioli, now refers to them as "neo-medievalists"!
By way of response, New Catholic offers a number of quotations from Régine Pernoud's Those Terrible Middle Ages: Debunking the Myths,focusing on pervasively persisting caricatures and distortions of the middle ages. The prejudice against the period is so vast that the common assumption is that nothing good could possibly have come from it. I'm reminded of Bertrand Russell's History of Philosophy, which skips from the close of the Ancient philosophical period to Descartes, as though nothing happened between. As Pernoud puts the matter:
... the Marxist historians, who speak of feudalism destroyed by the French Revolution, makes one think of those ecclesiastics who see in the Second Vatican Council the 'end of the Constantinian period' -- as if nothing had happened, in more than sixteen hundred years, between Constantine and Vatican II, as if the beginning of the sixteenth century, particularly, had not led to that radical change in the state of the Church that was (without any play on words) the establishment of the Church of State.New Catholic then proceeds to describe an outlook that, for all the world, reminds me of George Weigel and his book, Evangelical Catholicism:
What is meant by "medievalist" in Church circles is even worse, because anything that resembles a love for what the Church always was, what she always believed, how she always worshiped just until the 1960s is by itself viewed suspiciously as "Medieval". This is indeed, as Pernoud implied, the Founding Myth of Liberal Catholicism, and is in every way parallel with the Founding Myth of Protestantism. For Protestants, the "Primitive Church" was a mostly pure entity, just until the original sin of Constantine, and then it survived in the shadows with isolated figures until its glorious total re-emergence with Luther, Calvin, Zwingli and the whole team, as the shackles of the Dark Ages and Popery were lifted from pure Christianity. For Post-Conciliarists, the story is pretty much the same, after the first Fathers, came the long Dark Ages of the Church, the "Triumphalist", "Constantinian" Church existed from just around Nicaea all the way to the 1960s -- in a sense, all the intervening period is "medieval".[Hat tip to JM]
So, yes, certainly, if, by malice or ignorance, the history of the free Church, from the emergence from the catacombs up to the 1960s -- that is, practically the entire history of the Church soon after apostolic times -- is considered "medieval", then we are quite proud, and even eager, to be so characterized. And so should every Catholic. (emphasis in original)