Wednesday, June 11, 2014

"Whatever happened at Vatican II ..."

This choice quote from Elliot Bougis "Just give ‘em what they want already ..." (FideCogitActio, June 8, 2014) may go some way towards offering a cogent metaphorical explanation why some, at least, have jumped ship rather than bail water aboard the Barque of St. Peter over the past several decades:
Exactly whatever happened at Vatican II, we can, in the immortal words of Alice Thomas Ellis, in The Sin Eater, say that at the very least, “It is as though ... one’s revered, dignified and darling old mother had slapped on a mini-skirt and fishnet tights and started ogling strangers. A kind of menopausal madness, a sudden yearning to be attractive to all. It is tragic and hilarious and awfully embarrassing. And of course, those who knew her before feel a great sense of betrayal and can’t bring themselves to go and see her any more.” (emphasis his)




“have jumped ship rather than bail water aboard the Barque of St. Peter”

I suspect the answer lies in the absolute trust that the pre-Vatican II laity placed in the bishops. We trusted them. They let us down badly.

Some laity was so shocked by changes liturgical and implicitly doctrinal, they just walked away. Others went into denial and continued as nominal Catholics wondering vaguely what in Heaven’s was happening, while they got on with the business of career and raising family, only later, looking around at the resulting shambles.

In the meantime, non-Catholic generations of “Catholics” were raised.

Now, remaining thinking Catholics, and there aren’t all that many, are wondering at the utter mess the Mystical Body of Christ has been allowed to get into over the past 50 years, by Popes, bishops, and clergy.

Alice Thomas Ellis put it so well!



I was talking to a learned and wise canons regular priest and he said prior to Vatican 2, the clergy were considered above or beyond the laity. I believe he meant on spirituality and closeness to God.

After Vatican 2, the clergy and laity were considered on par or equals with each other. Naturally there are big differences in roles, especially sacramental roles, but this view makes sense to me.

Pertinacious Papist



As St. Josemaria Escriva somewhere says, the clergy are supposed to serve as the officers in the Catholic army. In that sense, they "outrank" laity. But as St. Josemaria also stresses, the focus of "the work" (Opus Dei) of the Church is the sanctification of the life of all, including the laity in the world. In this sense, he combated against the "clericalist" attitudes that prevailed in his day (and at various periods of Catholic history) and stressed that "the Church" is not merely the clergy (with laity as an afterthought). The laity are the rank-and-file of the Catholic army who, every bit as much as clergy and religious, respond to their particular "vocations."

A clericalist mentality can be found in pre-Vatican II attitudes of some circles, just as it can be found in post-Vatican II attitudes of those who think the laity should be involved in aping the roles of priest as "Eucharistic ministers," etc. St. Josemaria's apostolate, Opus Dei, doesn't even recognize the role of a lay "permanent" diaconate, viewing that as a clericalist post-Vatican II aberration (and my colleague, canonist Ed Peters, would agree, as he has publicly declared in print).

So I agree with you. I would not, however, restrict the clericalist attitudes to pre-Vatican II times, nor would I regard the proper view of the laity (the view which you say "makes sense" to you) as the perview only of recent post-Vatican II developments. It is rooted in Church tradition.