15 July 2015

The Lake Garda Declaration: (1) Is Christ King?

I expect that you have all read, over on Rorate, the text of this document. If not, I think you should. It has been suggested to me that it is a trifle long. Let me explain why I think it says a number of things that badly need to be said.

I think it is becoming ever more clear ... well, clear to me, anyway ... that what was wrong with Vatican II is not that it promoted explicit heresy. Persistent and painstaking attempts to detect doctrinal error in its documents have, I believe, tended to reveal that this particular haystack does not in fact conceal a needle. What was wrong ... and this is something perhaps only discernible with hindsight (I am not claiming that I had such hindsight half a century ago; I was as blind as the blindest of the Conciliar Fathers) ... is that it completely misread the signs of the times, and thus set the Church upon a mistaken course. The assumption was that the culture of the World had reached a point at which it would be open to mutually profitable dialogue if only the Church herself became more open; if she attempted to move beyond stale and formulaic statements of dogma, accompanied by anathemas, into new expressions of evangelical Truth which the World would take seriously, if only it could be brought to see that they reflected its own deepest and most honourable concerns.

Fr Aidan Nichols has wisely written: "I do not see any theological difficulty about querying the wisdom of some of the reform provisions made by the Council. Matters that turn on the exercise of practical wisdom in particular sets of circumstances do not involve the 'charism of truth' given to the total episcopate". He goes on to write about the Council's "misjudgements about contemporary trends". He is dead right. The World of the Conciliar decade was in fact on the point of tipping over into a new and greater apostasy as a result of which, within a couple of generations, Christians in the 'Christian heartlands' would actually become liable to persecution for resisting the imposition by 'law' of patterns of sexual perversion and the holocaust of the unborn. It is true, and it needs to be said, that the Conciliar documents do indeed contain explicit condemnations of abortion and of sexual immorality. But the overall cultural bias of those documents is of optimistic engagement with the World.

Put in traditional terms, the Council Fathers failed to discern that the World was on the verge of a new great onslaught upon the Kingship of Christ. Despite the fact that National Socialism had used the very concept of Law itself to impose a monstrous and murderous tyranny, the Fathers did not foresee that Law was again about to be perverted, in the 'civilised' 'democracies', in precisely the same way as it had been perverted in the Germany of the 1930s. If you say to me that it is unreasonable to expect the Fathers to have had a crystal ball, I supppose I will have to agree with you, but I will come back at you with the plain and irrefutable point that, however inculpably, they did not see all this, and did not equip the Church for the dark days which in fact did lie ahead. In this failure, whether culpable or not, I discern the roots of our current problems.
To be continued. Comments will be considered for moderation only when this series is completed.


10 comments:

Liam Ronan said...

Very well put , Father. I would suggest too that the strength, cunning, and reach of the enemies within the Church was wildly underestimated do to a heady optimism that generally prevailed throughout the Council though alarm bells were sounded by certain members of the Curia and Council.

The power of the media was naively and grossly misunderstood as was the close kinship between the enemies of the Church within and their Gramscian allies ensconced throughout the world.

How the Council was perceived throughout and thereafter smacked of the smoke of Satan and a diabolic intelligence quick to seize on every careless imprecision in VII documents and language in order to propel the Church forward to that desperate state in which we now find ourselves.

Churchill famously said: "History is written by the victors." The apparent 'victors' have written their history and are now strutting the stage, but we all know that Christ the King is also the Lord of History and, having read what has been written of Jesus, we all know the glorious finale to that book.

Romulus said...

I believe that many of the Council fathers were modern men -- rooted more in the moment than in timelessness. Disoriented by the pace of history in their lifetimes, they came of age amid the dizzying modernity of the inter-war period. As a result, their preoccupying delusion was, in a word, Maoism: the conviction that the world has been re-created so that history and tradition have no claims upon us nor lessons for us; indeed, that history and tradition more likely than not are not blessings but irrelevant burdens, retarding human progress and therefore best shrugged off.

Amateur Brain Surgeon said...

At just the time revolution was maturing internationally into its puissant persuasiveness was the time when the Hierarchy decided permissiveness was what was required of the One Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church so as to dialogue with it.

One imagines the revolutionaries responded to this permissiveness by sounding like half-the-crowd as Lady Godiva rode through town; Hurray for our side

Jacobi said...

I will comment, not write a treastise.

Vat II has marked a turning point in the history of the Church. Bishop Schneider is right.

Had we had stood steadfast against the tidal wave of depravity, stood for Salvation, from the sixties onwards, the world might not have been convinced, but it would have noticed.

The Church has tried to compromise with the world. The World is not interested.

The coming Synod on the Family will be the test. We either remain Catholic on adultery, homosexuality, the Real Presence, the Ordained Priesthood, or the Western Catholic Church will dissolve.

Anne said...

Henri De Lubac, who gets a lot of bad press, wrote extensively and deeply of the loss of the Spiritual sense in the exegesis of Scripture as was understood by the Apostles and the Fathers, (I refer to his work Scripture in the Tradition and his magnus opus, Medieval Exegesis). With the loss of the three or four fold sense of Scripture, the modern mind has become carnal ie.literal, which of course was one of the main thrusts of the protestants...to replace allegory, anagogy, tropology, with the literal or Judaic interpretation of scripture. Benedict seem to have tried to recover the true and ancient sense of Scripture and the Faith in his exegesis. However one reads the commentary on the Rorate Caeli site, in regards to the minds behind the latest encyclical and all that is out the window...prominent in the encyclicals formulation, is an Irish priest...who states that all Scripture is historical literalism, that needs to be constantly remade in man's image. Then there other very secular minds that are supporting this attempt to bring back something akin to pantheism...nature is semi divine. No you can't miss it. It's all very much "in your face". I don't think the Church has faced such a revolution since the Reformation. And this revolution is being generated internally.

Dianne Bautista said...

Our Lady of Fatima did command that the Third Secret be revealed to the world before 1960. Unfortunately, Pope John XXIII did not heed Our Lady's request...

Dianne Bautista said...

Our Lady of Fatima commanded that the Third Secret be revealed to the world in 1960...unfortunately Pope John XXIII did not heed Our Lady's request

Ma Tucker said...

If Jesus Christ is indeed who He claims himself to be and if the Catholic Church is what He and she claims herself to be - His mystical body and the conduit of grace, the only creative force in the whole created order then you must conclude that the degeneration that occurs in the world is always a direct consequence of the degeneration in the members of the Church. The Church Fathers did not misread the sign of the times, they precipitated these degenerate times. When Christ is rejected all will fall into chaos. Christianity builds and sustains culture. All power and authority is His. Nothing but degeneration results from the rejection of the only creative and sustaining power that actually exists.

Jason W. said...

Regarding Vatican II and the painstaking attempts to find heresy in its documents I would respectfully suggest that looking at statements on ecumenism and religious freedom might be profitable.

Reform of the Reform said...

I had been wondering for a while about the effects of major wars on our world. These seem to have had a lot of influence on the world views of people who experienced them. In particular, I wonder about the effect of WWII on those who lived through it, even on very young children. WWII, seems to have left its mark on the Church. I think all the Council Fathers lived through WWII.
I am speaking as someone who was born quite a while after, but my experience as a kid growing up in the 1950's left me with some perplexing experiences. I was often annoyed about the attitude, at least in Canada, that the modern was where it is at, that old things needed to be discarded, whether in architecture, clothes, etc, all those things that people came in contact with everyday. In hindsight, there seems to have been a need to forget those grim things that reminded people of the past and build in new word which promised to be much better than the old. By 1960, there was a great optimism in the future despite the cold war. That brute Stalin had died, and the terrible WWII had been over for long time, etc. Maybe I am all wrong about this, but this optimism in the modern new word, in the atomic age of science, in the great hope that the future seemed to be bringing, is what the Council was all about when it spoke of the new Pentecost, that is, the Church wanted to be part of this new great world that was being built. In other words, the council was about the world of the old generation that raised the baby-boomers, not the world that these same baby-boomers soon found themselves in.