7 April 2010

More Gherardini on Vatican II

"There was a heedless and unfounded optimism; the capsizing of perspective, which no longer came from above towards what was below, but vice versa with a perspective starting from an unlimited confidence in man; the clouding of the sacred; a false and dangerous irenicism; the spirit of good nature and cooperation with opposing forces; the deconsecration of, and simultaneously, the adoration of certain aspects of creation - above all, of freedom. The Trojan horse was not, properly speaking, the collection of the conciliar documents, but the ideas of certain pressure groups which succeeded in infiltrating the conciliar hall and determining the line of the progressive maturation which consequently flowed out into the post-conciliar culture. The 'sin' of the Council Fathers, therefore, at least the vast majority of them, was not of the formal type 'of full recognition and deliberate consent', but rather the material sin of 'lack of recognition', of levity, of superficial and exaggerated optimism, of good faith on a personal level."

My own (loquitur JWH) view is that the liberals won decisive victories whenever, by craftily arguing that the Curia was trying to dictate to the Council, they managed to persuade the Fathers to discard curial drafts in favour of liberal drafts. We all know how crucial it is to secure the bridgehead of providing the draft which is the basis of discussion; even if you don't always get your way in the ensuing wheeling and dealing, you have at least set the parameters. With luck, you end up with people unhappy about the entire basic culture and presuppositions of the document before them, but reluctantly signing it because they can't quite see what amendments of detail would put things right. That is why - however SSPX tries to get round it - Mgr Lefebvre and very many others did sign the Decree on Religious Liberty while aware they they were being taken for a ride.


Anonymous said...

The bite (and a vicious bite it is) is that reversal of the "Spirit of the Council" will require Calvary and crucifixion for those humble enough to take up the cross. The Pope cannot go it alone. None of us can serve two masters. There can be no more of the nice-ness of being part of something that, temporaly speaking, has a future it has led us to The bite (and a vicious bite it is) is that reversal of the "Spirit of the Council" will require crucifixion for those humble enough to take up the cross. The world has been given too much scandal to use against the Church and has been granted undue authority over Her governance (money, money, money). If the Pope is going to fix things he cannot go it alone and none of us can continue to serve two masters. There can be no more of the niceness of being part of something that, temporally speaking has a future (i.e. a steady pay check); it has led us to laissez faire religion – AKA a slippery slope into hell. The early Church had to defend against specious charges of cannibalism; we are forced to defend against charges of sodomy, pederasty and insatiable greed. I am beginning to think that it is God’s intention to let the world have a feeding frenzy on the Church, to send in the fiery serpents.

I know it’s a total downer to ask the question: but do we really deserve to have things continue to (seeming) go well for us? The Pope’s Urbi et Orbi message was full of hope, but that hope is met with flat feet by a Church which has been eviscerated of any real ability to spread the Gospel and convert the nations. We can’t even convert our next door neighbors (or in many cases the guy in the pew) let alone the hordes of “Jews, Turks, Infidels and Hereticks” throughout the world. There used to be eager missionaries at the ready, now we can’t even staff a local parish.

(I’ll stop there. Sorry for the soap box, Father)

Sadie Vacantist said...

Many remain in denial that there is a problem with the post-conciliar Church. We are then informed by the conoscenti that abusers are also in a form of "denial". Can we permit ourselves to contemplate this irony?

GOR said...

Courage, Fr LR! Yes there is much to be discontented about in our Church today – and the arrows keep flying every day, it seems. Maybe we had become too complacent - especially here in the US. A century or more ago we were the Church of the poor immigrants – Irish, Poles, Italians, etc. – but it was a vibrant Church. Then we got ‘respectability’ in the 20th century – culminating, for many, in the election of a Catholic, John F. Kennedy, to the Presidency. We had arrived!

Then for the past 50 years we saw the hierarchy – and a majority in the pews - in bed with the Democratic Party and giving cover to Catholics in public life that were not living their Faith or openly dissenting to it. But, hey, we had political clout!

But, at what a price…? Like Esau, selling our birthright for a mess of pottage or - like Judas - betrayal for thirty pieces of silver. The 60s and the ‘Spirit of Vat II’ rounded out the equation. “I’m OK, you’re OK” and nothing is fixed in stone. Absolutes are out the window. “All you need is love” and “If it feels good, do it!”

But now, time to pay the piper. We’ve had our fun, now it is time to get serious. But it starts with each of us individually. Not everyone can become a missionary in the accepted sense – going to far-off lands to preach the Gospel. I am reminded of two Saints: St. Francis who said “Preach the Gospel, sometimes even using words”; and St. Therese of Liseaux who - though never leaving her convent - became the Patroness of the Missions. The Early Christians made many converts, not by the quality of their preaching, but by the example of their lives. Any one of us can do that – and we should.

One final quote: Pope John XXIII, exasperated by the problems he faced in the Church, once said to God: “Lord, it’s your Church, I’m going to bed.”

davidforster said...

It is perhaps a matter of pedantry, but Mgr Lefebvre did many times assert that he had not signed Dignitatis Humanae. The only reference I can find at hand is his book "They have uncrowned Him" (Angelus press 1988) where he states categorically: "On December 7, 1965, I refused to put my signature at the bottom of this conciliar act ... one does not sign an apostasy!"

I found this other detail in Mgr L's book, which I had forgotten. Opposition to the text on the part of the council fathers was significantly reduced by Paul VI adding a final paragraph in which it was asserted that nothing in the document was contrary to tradition. - the number of non placets was reduced from 250 to 94 by that measure.

I hope that this is not what "A hermeneutic of continuity" means - taking a text which is manifestly not in accordance with tradition, asserting that it is, and then doing double-doctrinal-somersaults to try to prove consistency. (This reminds me of a certain Tract 90, ahem ...).

A "hermeneutic of living tradition" would start from the standpoint of tradition, assess Vatican 2 in the light of it, correct what needs to be corrected, dump what is incorrect, and incorporate genuine new insights (if any) into the corpus of church tradition.

is that the same as the "Hermeneutic of continuity"? Time will tell. As the late Peter Simple often wrote in The Feudal Times and Reactionary Herald, "he who lives longest will see most."

Julio said...

Off topic:

It seems the Continuum has taken you to task, to wit:


William Tighe said...

In response to the last comment, I was thinking of drawing their attention to Eric Mascall's defense of private Masses in *Corpus Christi,* but when one is dealing with "Our 'Anglican Catholicism' is whatever we say it is," what's the point?

William Tighe said...

By the way, may I bring to the attention of potentially interested readers that there is a copy of the second edition (1965) of Mascall's *Corpus Christi* (which is much expanded from the first edition [1953] and contains some reflections on Vatican II documents) available for $6.00 USD (plus postage) at Amazon.com, and that despite the fact that the bookseller offering it is located in Great Britain, it is not listed at Amazon.co.uk, where the one copy of that edition on offer is priced at 54 quid (and the one copy of the first edition is 34 quid)?

I am tempted to buy it myself, despite already having a copy, but I urge interested readers to take advantage of so inexpensive price for so rare an item.

Sadie Vacantist said...

I don't get Continuum's logic and he seems stuck in a World I fail to recognise.

Is he suggesting that if my mother had tucked into a plate of chips when carrying me (as was her wont) and then attended Mass without taking communion in accordance with the fast that the Mass was in some way problematic?

There are now so many abuses that frequent communion should be quietly discouraged. Perhaps the reintroduction of more rigorous fasting requirements would be a good start.

Matt H. said...

@davidforster: On the question of whether Archbishop Lefebvre signed Dignitatis Humanae, this article by Father Brian Harrison, O.S. makes the case that he did. Take a look and see what you think. The page is rather poorly formatted; at least on my computer, the font needs to be reduced a few sizes before the text starts to become readable.


Oh, and for the record, I don't intend this to be an endorsement of *Fidelity Magazine* and affiliated publications.

davidforster said...

@ Matt H. Fr Harrison's comments are not original - this alleged list of signatories was produced in Abp Lefebvre's lifetime. His reply was that those producing it had misunderstood what the document was - that what was being produced wasn't actually the list of signatories to the decree, but in effect an attendance register taken at the session.

So either the Abp was: 1. mistaken about what he was signing; 2. signed it but forgot that he had done so; 3. signed it as an act of obedience, and then forgot; 4. deliberately misrepresented the situation.

It's difficult to understand why Abp L would have misrepresented the situation - after all, he was open about having agreed at the time to other measures - including the 1965 missal - which he later regretted and denounced.

I don't think it especially matters. What was on record was the Abp's consistent opposition to the decree - before, during, and after its promulgation. And it looks at though he will be proved right.

By the way, Fr Brian Harrison has produced mental double-somersaults of great ingenuity to try to prove that Dig Hum is consistent with Catholic doctrine. I rather think it might have been his doctoral thesis even. The more I read his justification, the more sure I was that if Dig Hum can only be justified by such sophistry and double-think, that it has no legitimate place in the corpus of the magisterium. Just my humble, non-infallible, interpretation, of course.

davidforster said...

P.S. Having said that, Fr Harrison's discussion of the mentality in some traditionalist circles seems dangerously near the truth. I certainly remember the attitude at the time, circa 1990, that Fr Harrison was writing about. Catholic traditionalists had badly fallen out over the Consecrations and the Ecclesia Dei arrangement; things in the church were looking very dark for tradition; and the lure of sedevacantism was seeming increasingly attractive to some. We should remember that at the time there was scepticism that the Fraternity of St Peter etc. would be more than a flash in the pan - the benefit of 20 years hindsight wasn't available. Mischief making by Fr Harrison - as it appeared, despite his claims to be a disinterested lover of truth - was certainly not welcome or helpful.

dcs said...

@davidforster, Bp. Tissier de Mallerais admits that Msgr. Lefebvre signed all of the documents of Vatican II in his biography on the Archbishop. So we can safely leave Fr. Harrison out of the discussion. That being said, I do not think that His Grace lied or dissembled in any way; he probably remembered his opposition to the document (before actually signing it) as a refusal to sign it.