Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Fr. Ray Blake: "I blame the Bolognese"

Fr. Ray Blake, "I blame the Bolognese" (Fr. Ray Blake's Blog, May 25, 2015):
If you look at the remarks of Dr Diarmuid Martin you can see where the problem lies, and it is not just what he has said since after the vote but, maybe, always.

A friend bought an autobiography of a bishop recently and then complained how shallow, self justifying it was. How it seemed to lack any talk of Grace and seemed spiritually vacuous, as if it was written by a name dropping minor politician, rather than a Christian and a man of faith. I have yet to read it but I suspect it is typical of any apologia of any bishop today, with no attempt as Newman might have made, to reveal his method of thinking or his spiritual motivation, or the action of God in his life.

Catholics today might be divided into those influenced by the School of Bologna, who believe in rupture or discontinuity and those who believe in continuity. The documents of Vatican II as Pope Benedict suggested can be read either way, they are designed to be somewhat ambiguous, open to acceptance by even the most traditionally minded of Council Fathers but with a fair degree of play for those who would end up 'interpreting' them. There has been a great deal of talk about an actual Council and 'a Council of the media', in the same way as there is about an actual Francis and a Francis constructed by the media, I suspect that is all a little simplistic, certainly as far as the Council is concerned, one has only to look at whose hands were behind the various documents, what their intentions were. The writers invariably became the interpretors.

The hermeneutic of the Bologna School was always about rupture, its origins seem to have been in ameliorating the excesses of Mussolini's rule, of seeing the Church from the level of the poor, quite natural from Red Bologna. The problem echoes all of the movements of the early 20th century that were on the side of the poor, they created an elite to decide what the poor really wanted, and ended up by disenfranchising those whose cause they had come to power to support. We see that in Bolshevikism or Communism, Italian or Spanish Fascism, National Socialism or even in the Argentinian Pope's native Peronism. Sooner or later the poor or the 'masses' become frustrated by their new masters.

What the Church has lost, in Ireland as much as as elsewhere, are the 'toiling masses'. The Year Zero-ism that the Bologna School puts forward cuts the Church off from its roots, and not just its cultural roots but also its intellectual roots, As Monsignor Klaus Gamber says in 'Reform of the Roman liturgy' (my thanks to Viterbo).

'But what possible advantage can be gained for the pastoral care of the faithful by changing the feast days of the saints in the Church calendar, changing the way of counting Sundays during the liturgical year, or even changing the words of Consecration? What possible advantage can be gained by introducing a new Order of Readings and abolishing the old one, or by making minor and unimportant adjustments to the Traditional Rite, and then finally, by publishing a new Missal? Was all this really done because of pastoral concern about the souls of the faithful, or did it not rather represent a radical breach with the Traditional Rite, to prevent the further use of traditional liturgical texts and thus to make the celebration of the 'Tridentine Mass' impossible, because it no longer reflected the new spirit moving through the Church?" 
The act of changing the Church in fact eviscerated it, removing it even culturally from the place most of its members 'were at', as we used to say. What had stood firm for generations in its 'renewed form' was incapable of standing for a few decades after the 'New Pentecost' promised by Bl. John XXIII.

A Church that is rootless is not 'owned' by the people. A Church that is afraid to teach because it has cut itself from it previous Magisterium, and which instead sows uncertainty, has nothing to say in the daily living of its members, nor in the intellectual forum in general. In fact it is irrelevant. It has all the outward appearance that it once used for the furtherance of its mission but has lost its interior meaning. It is not so much an Emperor with no clothes, but the clothes without an Emperor, all that is left is the institution, which itself is meaningless. In Germany, as in Ireland, the real-estate portfolio seems to be what the Church is about rather than any actual teaching or revelation of Christ.

What I find so sad about Archbishop Martin's statements is that seem to be about institutional power, and influence, the very thing that disgusted the Irish during the abuse crisis. This is what even practising Catholics seem to find so objectionable about the Irish bishops, but in fact they are like many European bishops who have nothing to say and nothing to offer except a vacuous institution; the Church preaching not Jesus Christ but simply protecting its back.

I blame the Bolognese because they have emptied the Church of meaning, leaving it ineffectual, substituting for doctrine a warm feeling, for the worship of God, a celebration of community. This what the Irish Church has been offering for decades - pap!

In a way this video says everything about what is wrong with the Church in Ireland, it is narcissistic and feel-gooding, self-neutering, incapable of reproducing itself, neither evangelising nor being self-critical. It is shallow, self-referential, lacking the ability to speak to either the mind or the heart, only to sentiment. It neither depends on or leads to Jesus Christ, in fact it becomes a replacement for him.
[Hat tip to Sir A.S.]


Amateur Brain Surgeon said...

But being self-referential was publicly proclaimed as a puissant virtue during Vatican Two;

Pope Paul VI’s Address Closing Council’s Second Session, Dec. 4, 1963

We have now reached the end of the second session of this great ecumenical council.

You have already been long absent from your Sees, in which the sacred ministry requires your presence, your guidance and your zealous pastoral labors. Your work here has been heavy, and assiduous and protracted by reason of the ceremonies, studies and meetings of this period of the council...

Before concluding our labors, it would be fitting to sum up and to consider together the course of the session and its results. But to do that would make this address too long, nor indeed could it be done adequately since so many aspects of this council belong to the domain of grace and the inner kingdom of the soul into which it is not always easy to enter, and since so many of the council’s results have not yet come to maturity, but are as grains of wheat cast into the furrows, awaiting their effective and fruitful development, which will be granted only in the future through new mysterious manifestations of the divine goodness.

(The God of surprises?)

Nevertheless, lest we seem to leave this holy council hall without gratitude for the blessings of God, from whom this council has here taken its origin (Blame game) , we will remind ourselves above all that some of the goals that the council set itself to achieve have already been at least partially reached.

The Church wished to grow in her consciousness and understanding of herself. See how, on the very level of her pastors and teachers, she has begun a profound meditation on that mystery from which she draws her origin and form. The meditation is not finished, but the very difficulty of concluding it reminds us of the depth and breadth of this doctrine, and stimulates each of us to strive to understand and to express the doctrine in a way which, on the one hand, cannot fail to lead our minds, and certainly those of the faithful who are attentively following our labors, to Christ Himself from whom all gifts come to us and to whom we wish to return all, “reconciling everything in Him” (Col. 1, 20).

(Right. As if up until 1963, the Catholic Church had no damn idea who she was or what her reason for existing was. O, and it also knew that it was Jesus who was the origin of His Church and it was He who established its Hierarchical Form. I wished the Council had called Raider Fan, for he could have saved them all of this intellectual sturm und drang).

On the other hand, our efforts cannot fail to increase both our happiness in being personally called to form part of this holy Mystical Body of Christ, and our mutual charity, the principle and law of the life of the Church.

Let us rejoice, my brothers, for when was the Church ever so aware of herself,...

William said...

R.F. - Brilliant.