Thursday, February 23, 2017

Talking about Vatican II


I constantly have to educate "trads" about the pre-Vatican II Church, starting with using the 1917 Code of Canon Law to explain why you cannot call everyone a heretic and schismatic.
It's like the left's "everybody I don't like is Hitler" error.
It really kills me; it makes traditionalism look like a religion of fear and ignorance, easily exploited.
Right; we end up living down to our church enemies' caricature of us. I won't let the self-righteous liberals push me into an extreme position.
I stopped attending an SSPX chapel here because the people you describe pushed everyone else out.
I'm not surprised. The SSPX means well, and I know exactly what they're reacting to, self-righteous liberals telling them they were bad and sick, but they're wrong.
Well, I am not entirely sure what you mean there, but if not by principle, then certainly in execution!
I'll back off a bit: there is a spectrum in the SSPX, from the sound who simply are defending the old Mass and their culture ("the Novus Ordo is unfortunate but valid") to the unsound who worship their culture, putting it above the church, just like the Orthodox do theirs. Having been in and out of the church, I am convinced that liking the traditional Mass better isn't an excuse to leave your diocese (the church's basic unit) now that we have Pope Benedict's reform to the English Mass. Benedict the Great really did undo the effect of the council: the liturgical baseline everywhere is sound again. You can high-church the new Mass so it's virtually like the Tridentine, you can have a no-frills early-morning Mass lasting 15 minutes (I've been to those), and you can have low-church and/or experimental styles you and I might not like. It's all good.
Not sure I am that versatile, but I certainly see a broad possibility where the reform could have gone. I and another friend are currently exploring the 1965 Missa Normativa, which I believe Pope Benedict was moving toward. If only he had finished.
His reform was a big step in that direction.

Things went wrong for Catholics in the 1960s because the idea behind the council was wrong: experiments are fine but changing the whole church's culture was a huge mistake. I don't buy the claim that it was God's will; that's the liberals' self-righteousness. You had two things going on, with crossover between them: belief in space-age progress (the thought behind the council) and heresy (neo-Protestantism and Modernism). The strict constructionists about Vatican II ("let's properly implement it") are naïve; the game was to praise an old practice, then effectively abolish it a few lines down by making it optional. We can write new services but probably shouldn't. Best if we just ignore Vatican II, which we can do since it didn't define any doctrine.
I told my friend that I often wonder how the church might have gone if they simply decided to modernise rather than change. The 1965 Mass updated the Mass but it remained essentially the same Mass. It could still have been done with modern styles of vestments and music and such. Not that I favour that, but the integrity of the faith would not have been as much impacted.
All the good that Vatican II ostensibly was trying to do could have been done with less or no harm to Catholics with just a few papal pronouncements, one authorizing the vernacular as an option for the Roman Rite (which almost everybody would have adopted), one authorizing limited liturgical experimentation (inculturation is a good idea, for example) but essentially keeping the old Mass (as was the case in 1965), another stating that American-style religious liberty is an option, and still another authorizing some dialogue with non-Catholics.

The Russian Orthodox metropolia in America, now the OCA, did it almost right then: they didn't write new services, only translating the old ones. They did have their worship war, though: because of the Zeitgeist (space-age progress) and particularly a desire to Americanize (which obviously Catholics strongly had too; Fulton Sheen was a fan of the council), they were ruthless, suppressing Slavonic and the Julian calendar.

Thumbs up to space-age traditional Catholicism. That was happening right before Vatican II.

Everything that's not doctrine is negotiable.
It is still possible, and I think its time is still coming. The vision of Benedicit did not die; it simply took a break.
He isn't even that conservative. Just Catholic and, a Bavarian, without American Catholics' hostility to high liturgics.

The biological solution is under way. Church liberals are old. Young Catholics who no longer believe leave the church. Those who remain want real religion, not that of the liberals. We will have another Pope Benedict.

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