Pope Francis: Vatican II was “beautiful work of the Holy Spirit” but some “wish to turn the clock back”

From this morning’s Mass with the pope in the guesthouse chapel:

The Pope said one example of this resistance [to the Holy Spirit] was the Second Vatican council which he called “a beautiful work of the Holy Spirit.” But 50 years later, “have we done everything the Holy Spirit was asking us to do during the Council,” he asked. The answer is “No,” said Pope Francis. “We celebrate this anniversary, we put up a monument but we don’t want it to upset us. We don’t want to change and what’s more there are those who wish to turn the clock back.”

Some wish to turn back the clock on Vatican II? Who do you suppose  the pope means? Discuss.

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113 comments

  1. That strikes me as being a pretty direct statement, or at least as much as you should expect. It looks like some of the speculation about the direction the Church is taking is well founded.

  2. My heart beats faster. Do my eyes deceive me, or are those closed windows about to be thrown open again? Dare I hope?

  3. I think all one needs to do is to read what Pope Benedict said about Vatican II on the eve of his departure from the chair of Peter and to understand also that the Mass in which this homily was given was for the intentions of the Holy Father Emeritus on his 86th birthday.

    The last paragraph of Benedict’s talk sums up what Francis said today:

    “And we know that this Council of the media was accessible to all. So, dominant, more efficient, this Council created many calamities, so many problems, so much misery, in reality: seminaries closed, convents closed liturgy trivialized … and the true Council has struggled to materialize, to be realized: the virtual Council was stronger than the real Council. But the real strength of the Council was present and slowly it has emerged and is becoming the real power which is also true reform, true renewal of the Church. It seems to me that 50 years after the Council, we see how this Virtual Council is breaking down, getting lost and the true Council is emerging with all its spiritual strength. And it is our task, in this Year of Faith, starting from this Year of Faith, to work so that the true Council with the power of the Holy Spirit is realized and Church is really renewed. We hope that the Lord will help us. I, retired in prayer, will always be with you, and together we will move ahead with the Lord in certainty. The Lord is victorious. Thank you.”

    The entire talk is here:
    http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2013/02/14/pope_benedict%27s_last_great_master_class:_vatican_ii,_as_i_saw_it_%5Bfull/en1-665030

    I suspect Pope Francis was reflecting on Benedict and this brilliant final talk he gave in Rome ABOUT THE TRUE COUNCIL–do we really want to turn the clock back to the “Council of the Media, THE VIRTUAL COUNCIL” or follow the Holy Spirit to the TRUE Council?

    I would also suggest that we read Pope Francis through the lens of Pope Benedict, but also read Pope Francis through his other homilies and acts, especially his talk to the Pontifical Biblical Commission and his imprimatur on the reform of the LCWR which would prefer as a religious organization to mimic and remain stuck in the “Virtual Council” rather than the true Council. We can’t turn the clock back to the Virtual Council, we must go forward with the TRUE Council.

    1. @Fr. Allan J. McDonald – comment #5:

      I think the majority WAS following the Spirit who was guiding the “true” Council. Looking at Francis’ style of liturgy, I don’t think he’ll be following Benedict’s RotR…

    2. @Fr. Allan J. McDonald – comment #5:
      Fr.Allan,

      You say that Pope Emeritus Benedict sums up what Francis really means.

      I hope you realize that you’re taking a risk here in trying to make Francis’ words mean what you hope they mean, and what Benedict perhaps hopes they mean. Isn’t it better to let Francis speak for Francis?

      awr

      1. @Anthony Ruff, OSB – comment #11:
        That’s why I said you have to read Francis through his other homilies, talks and actions, the three that are noteworthy, the talk to Pontifical Biblical Commission, what transpired with the LCWR and interviews he gave as Cardinal Bergoglio especially his vision of a non clericalized laity living their Baptism in the world and this preaching not from the liturgical pulpit but the pulpit of where they live and work.

    3. @Fr. Allan J. McDonald – comment #5:
      “I would also suggest that we read Pope Francis through the lens of Pope Benedict”

      Allan, you might as well suggest we look at Francis washing the feet of women and Muslims through the lens of Benedict washing the feet of clergy/men only.

    4. @Fr. Allan J. McDonald – comment #5:
      This “reading Francis through Benedict” sure sounds like “reading Francis through Fr. Z and Fr. McDonald.” If Pope Francis really meant what you think, I sure wonder why he said what he said … and not what you said!

      awr

      1. @Anthony Ruff, OSB – comment #35:
        Fr Z and his imitators are engaging in the Weigel School of Spin; it’s very predictable (unlike Pope Francis). Weigel’s reputation has never recovered from his scandalous performance on the day B16’s last encyclical was published four year ago, but his method has long legs.

  4. Fr Allan, the biggest problem, I think, when people talk about “the true council” and following the Holy Spirit is that this often means “what I think happened at the council” and “my interpretation is the correct one”.

    I am certainly guilty of this at times.

    That said, I am really not sure how clinging onto a dead language or defining Christianity by what it declares to be evil can possibly further the cause of evangelisation. When faced with the 21st century equivalent of geocentrism, clinging to the past is going to get us all ignored. It’s hard to spread the Word when nobody is listening.

  5. Oh, those media! Always distorting what the church believes and teaches. You suppose they were responsible for the seizing of the Papal States which led to Pius having himself declared solely responsible for the governance of the church which led in turn to the condemnation by the Orthodox churches? Were they also responsible for telling the world what modernism was all about–a complete rejection of the notion of development of doctrine? And we all know of course that the media were responsible for telling the whole world about the filth within the church that placed its own reputation above victimized children. Guess it just makes sense that the media distorted the true message of Vatican II. It must from them that we got the idea that the Spirit blows when and where it will and can blow down as well as build up. The Roman Catholic Church had turned completely in upon itself. It’s hierarchs and clergy–comprising less than 1% of God’s priestly people–had so completely dominated the life of the church that the baptized didn’t even know they were called to holiness and to an active share in the church’s mission. If there’s been a distortion, its one that’s been largely of our own making.

  6. “the Mass in which this homily was given was for the intentions of the Holy Father Emeritus on his 86th birthday…”

    Father Allan -another point -Pope Francis is a master of the “prophetic sign”, as he has shown several times already. Note the dovetailing of tradition -intentions for the Pope Emeritus on his b’day -and reform -a homily on the workings of the Holy Spirit and Vatican II.

    Another quick point -note the apparent aplomb with which he continues to handle a reality which is still a source of cognitive dissonance for many, to wit, the fact that there is another living Pope, albeit, emeritus, on the planet. A perfect occasion, a perfect gesture which goes far beyond social nicety into the realm of prophetic sign in an artful attempt to reconcile contraries.

  7. It seems that the Pope is open to the Church taking up the unfinished work of the council. Rather than what has been a battle of hermeneutics in recent years, and a inclination to turn back the clock, Francis recognizes that the Church needs to embrace change and allow the holy spirit to guide us. There has been too much focus on consilium vs. communio, hermeneutic of continuity, reform of the reform, personal assigning of meaning to the ‘spirit of the council” and the like. I guess we can look forward to an ad extra focus for the Church in the coming years. I guess we can all just wait in suspense to see where the holy spirit guides the Pope and the Church.

  8. What mumbo-jumbo…..of course, don’t use the above approach with Vatican II or the *Spirit of Vatican II* – then it wouldn’t fit his ideological ramblings.

    Here you go (I know, the N Crismatic Reporter reporting on Francis who spoke per your words from the local *Motel 6* and, of course, rightly understood as spoken by a *bohemian* and *neanderthal*:

    http://ncronline.org/blogs/ncr-today/francis-vatican-ii-beautiful-work-holy-spirit

    Key Points for Allan:

    – “He criticized those who resist change and “wish to turn back the clock” and “to tame the Holy Spirit,” asking if, 50 years after the council, “we have we done everything the Holy Spirit was asking us to do during the Council?”
    – “We celebrate this anniversary, we put up a monument but we don’t want it to upset us. We don’t want to change and what’s more there are those who wish to turn the clock back.” This, he went on, “is called stubbornness and wanting to tame the Holy Spirit.”
    – “The Holy Spirit upsets us because it moves us, it makes us walk, it pushes the church forward.”

    As one of my favorite mentors said on his deathbed (a peritus at the council) when asked about Vatican II stated: *Yes, it would be nice if we lived it*

    Also, your interpretation of these actions begs *reality*
    – talk to PBC – not sure it meant what you think it means?
    – LCWR – what projection; Francis was indirectly mentioned but he has yet to be involved; who knows what will happen? And is this really cause for joy?
    – and your twisting of his *non-clericalized laity and preaching from their everyday pulpit…..but the context was his prior remarks to priests about their *overclericalism* and *self-referential* lifes/lifestyles – wonder if he has been to Macon, GA?

    1. @Bill deHaas – comment #14:
      Hi, Bill. Could you explain what you meant in this paragraph excerpt for me?

      Here you go (I know, the N Crismatic Reporter reporting on Francis who spoke per your words from the local *Motel 6* and, of course, rightly understood as spoken by a *bohemian* and *neanderthal*:

      Thanks and blessings,Charles

      1. @Charles Culbreth – comment #28:
        Sure, Charles – sorry, didn’t mean to confuse but comment got disconnected from an earlier comment.

        From your favorite southern pastor and loyal subject of the CMAA – he continues to blog about:
        – National Catholic Reporter ….he joins the local Kansas City bishop (Finn) in declaring that this is not a *catholic* paper and renames it *chismatic*; of course, a play on schismatic
        – he also had a post in which he carried on and on and on about how the current Pope’s liturgical style is *bohemian* – thus reminding him of the *terrible* abuses in the 70-80s and *Neanderthal* in terms of the pope’s liturgical decisions.

        Again, a version of channeling both Fr. Z and Rorate Coeli at the same time.

      2. @Bill deHaas – comment #30:
        Thanks, Bill.
        For the record, I don’t know if FRAJM is an actual member of CMAA, but he was kind enough to host a chant intensive at St. Josephs, Macon, and that which I unfortunately couldn’t attend. Heck, he even offered to put me up in the rectory! And CMAA events are extraordinary beyond the pun. Heck, Bill, they put up with me!
        I wish the decibel level would diminish between you guys. I admire you both and pretty much most of the folk who contribute here.

  9. Whoa, Francis hit the breaks, and is shifting from high speed reverse into forward!

    How sweet it is.

    I guess the trads over at another site who argued that the tragic 9/11 jumpers committed suicide and are possibly not in heaven because they jumped rather than being incinerated to death, have lost their #1 advocate who gave them a voice… Benedict who?
    And Fritz wonders why we are so giddy?

  10. It’s getting harder and harder for traditionalists to explain away the words and actions of Pope Francis, “move along, nothing to see here.” It is becoming quite clear that he has progressive reforms in mind and is moving in that direction.

  11. All I can say is that I pray daily for a latter-day Union of Brest for traditionalists. Pope Francis, grant traditionalists an annulment from the postmodern liturgical project. Grant us canonical semi-autonomy and a major archbishop. You can be a good father to your postmodern child and your traditionalist child. Let your children lead the separate lives they yearn to live.

    I do not see traditionalist semi-autonomy as a green light to schism. I am loyal to the pope and his chair. However, many disagree. Still, the two Romans can no longer coexist. This is blatantly apparent. Some compromise must be struck.

    1. @Jordan Zarembo – comment #18:
      Jordan, I’m confused. In a previous thread you state, “I fear, however, that Mass and services are increasingly about who participates and not for Whom we participate,” a common traditionalist position. But then we also hear that the OF essentially doesn’t “do it” spiritually for those who prefer the EF. So which is it? Does one attain holiness objectively through the celebration of the liturgy, thereby making consideration of the makeup of the particular assembly moot? Or is the consideration of the desires of “who participates” so important that we should risk a schism (which since 2007 I believe is already occurring) by creating separate rites?

    2. @Jordan Zarembo – comment #18:

      What you are describing here is the Western Church equivalent of the Russian Old Believers. They have had a very long and interesting pilgrimage since the time of Patriarch Nikon — though at least groups of them are now back in communion with the Orthodox of Russia (Moscow.)

    3. @Jordan Zarembo – comment #18:
      Back in 2007 I had dinner (at, of all places, Da Roberto in the Borgo Pio) with a prelate of the Curia – those of you who know me will know who he is – and I floated with him the then-rumoured ridiculous notion which eventually became “Summorum Pontificum” and his reply was “Chris, it cannot happen, because you cannot have two Churches.”

      Jordan Zarembo’s comment # 18 on APril 6 at 11.11am unwittingly confirms, and is as much evidence as anyone would ever need, that the prelate was right.

      The Tridentine Mass was a rite that needed reforming, and it was reformed. By a General Council of the Church. And Paul VI died believing he had abrogated it.

      The fantasy of “two forms of one rite” – the most monstrous hermeneutic of rupture ever foisted upon the Church – must be seen for the lie it is, and abandoned.

  12. With respect to Vatican II and the liturgy, what I would like to know is this: is there any diocese in the Western world where Mass attendance, the number of sacramental marriages, and the number of priestly ordinations are higher today on a per capita basis than they were before Vatican II? I am aware of dioceses in Eastern Europe and in the Global South that are doing as least as well as they were before Vatican II, but my question is focused on the West.

    If there is no such diocese, what does that mean? After all, the only liturgy known in such dioceses for most of that period has been the reformed liturgy of Vatican II.

    1. @Tom Piatak – comment #18:
      To blame the societal changes that have made Mass-going less relevant and more problematic to many in the West on changes in liturgy is just extraordinary.

    2. @Tom Piatak – comment #19:
      Mr. Pietek,
      Your comments presume that the Church exists in a vacuum, and that a post-Vatican II liturgy is a singularly important reason that someone would become ordained, marry in the Church, or even attend Church.
      That assumption ignores about a million-and-one changes in society as a whole since 1963. It also ignores huge issues (a.k.a., scandals) in the Church itself that drove people away from the faith.

  13. Rachel – it follows the Fr. Z methodology – when in doubt, attack the *spirit of VII*; blame the media; blame society; blame secularism; and, if the data can be creatively re-interpreted to preserve an ideology, then go for it.

    What’s next? less catholics because we don’t abstain from meat on Fridays; families don’t pray the rosary every nite; not many attend novenas any more; folks don’t use NFP; blame it on less latin; liturgy is *too horizontal (an Allan favorite), etc., etc.

  14. If in fact Pope Francis means to be as liberal in his statement as some here interpret, then he has just succeeded in landing a huge insult on his still-living predecessor on his birthday, at a Mass in his honor.

    I would hope that Pope Francis is not so utterly classless.

    I would also hope that the Pope is not so obtuse as to think that desiring to “turn back the clock” and to “domesticate the Holy Spirit” is a traditionalist and only a traditionalist phenomenon.

    While some might, most traditionalists don’t want to “turn back the clock” — but instead, want to take the best of what we have and combine it with what we have gained in the meantime. This is particularly true in the liturgical sphere, where those who remember the brief, mumbled, and otherwise poorly-celebrated Masses of the pre-Conciliar era would not trade them for the carefully and beautifully celebrated EF Masses of the present. Many of us who consider ourselves traditionalists believe the fruits of the liberated EF and the RotR (and the associated growth in Catholic identity and vocations) as a work of the Holy Spirit.

    Indeed, some of the biggest proponents of “turning back the clock” that I hear are self-styled progressivists — it’s just that they want to turn back to circa 1970 (and not 1950… or some other perceived ‘golden era’ as they tend to project onto traditionalists en masse) and confuse every idea that comes to their minds as being “inspired by the Holy Spirit”. Yet they lack the discernment to determine whether or not it is the Holy Spirit, and the docility to bend when the Church, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, offers a corrective.

    We all want progress, but if you’re on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive.

    – C.S. Lewis

    May Pope Francis be the best and truest progressive in the sense Lewis suggests.

    1. @Matthew Morelli – comment #23:
      To change, to grow to develop, is not necessarily an insult on what went before. Francis was clearly elected with a “reform mandate” from the cardinals. Many have said so openly and publicly. So far, Francis is doing what he thinks needs doing, including making changes. This is with all due respect to Benedict, and to where the Church was a year or five years ago. It’s OK to be in a different place now. It’s OK to let go of the past and move on – gently, graciously, gratefully.
      awr

      1. @Anthony Ruff, OSB – comment #36:

        To change, to grow to develop, is not necessarily an insult on what went before. Francis was clearly elected with a “reform mandate” from the cardinals. Many have said so openly and publicly.

        Certainly change is not necessarily an insult, and the “reform mandate” was obvious before the Cardinals went into the Conclave — this is no surprise.

        However, if Pope Francis’s statements were insinuating that Pope Benedict were one of the “fools” who is trying to “domesticate the Holy Spirit” and “turn back the clock” because of some of the decisions he made, particularly liturgically, that would constitute a significant insult.

        But I don’t think that insult took place — because I don’t read the homily as the rejection of the general direction of the last two pontificates (unlike some commenters here). Instead, I’m casting my lot with those who are seeking to read Francis in some form of continuity with Benedict (and with JPII).

        I’m reading the Pope’s admonition as a more thorough need to “let go of the past and move on – gently, graciously, gratefully” — whether that holding on consists of a refusal to accept any accidentals from after the Council as some of the trads do, or of holding on to a 1970s-era refusal to accept the accidentals from before the Council as some of the progressives do. Both groups fit the Pope’s description of “fools”.

        This was the reason for my use of Lewis’s quote. Many things in the pre-Conciliar Church cried out for reform. However, no small number of things were rendered equally broken by misapplications of the Council and wrong discernment of the Holy Spirit. Humble discernment has led to the remedy of some of these misapplications and injustices along with continued reform of the earlier issues — usually by means that don’t resemble the pre-Conciliar status quo. It has meant backtracking from our wrong path long enough to find our way back to the right one.

      2. @Matthew Morelli – comment #39:
        Matthew – maybe so, but it sure sounds like a stretch to me. If the Pope had meant what you hope he meant, wouldn’t he have chosen his words more carefully? What he really said sure sounds like a rebuke to traddies opposed to the changes of Vatican II, and it sure doesn’t sound like a rebuke of liberals still living in the 70s. Maybe that’s what he really meant, but it sure looks like this is your wishful thinking.
        awr

      3. @Anthony Ruff, OSB – comment #49:
        I submit that as much as you see wishful thinking in others’ interpretation of Pope Francis’ remarks, the same wishful thinking exists in your interpretation.

  15. “In quella continuità della crescita della Chiesa che è stato il Concilio”

    “In that continuity of the growth of the Church which was the Council”

    Seems to me that this phrase from the same sermon of Pope Francis is worth being noted.

    “continuity of the growth” — I like how that sounds.

    1. @Charles Macnamara – comment #23:

      “In quella continuità della crescita della Chiesa che è stato il Concilio”

      Seems to me that this phrase from the same sermon of Pope Francis is worth being noted.

      I think that you are right — that this helps us get a better grasp of what the Pope was actually saying.

      It has been suggested elsewhere that this might be a little zuchetto-tip to Pope Benedict’s comments on the true “Council of the Fathers” vs. the distorted “Council of the Media” that he spoke of in the last days of his pontificate. If that is true, it is hardly a windfall for those looking for “progressive’ change in the Church because it was the “Council of the Media” that gave voice to many of their views.

      Unfortunately, it seems that the fulltext of the homily is not available in any language, including the original Italian, robbing us of any chance to know the full context of the Pope’s thoughts. Che peccato.

  16. If Pope Francis *really* meant to talk about a reform of the reform, then why did he keep using the word “change”???

    As to sad Pope Benedict, I often wonder what he is thinking these days. He seems an obviously holy man, but in spite of his best efforts he saw the Church continue to fall apart during his papacy.

    Does anyone think he’s so stupid and proud that he wouldn’t wonder if perhaps it was partly his fault or at least his inadequacy — especially since his successor has immediately elicited enormous affection from the faithful, affection which the faithful doesn’t have for Benedict. Can he not wonder about the sensus fidelis about himself?

    Francis has not won this affection this by some radical new theology. Surely Benedict must see that he, Benedict, lacked something important — that he did *not* respond to the Faithful as they needed to be responded to?

    Perhaps he now sees that Francis is on to something (though he doesn’t really understand what). I suggest that Francis just might have earned Benedict’s blessing, and that might mean he sees the need to accept — cover your ears — some change.

    I see Benedict as a particularly sad figure, though not a tragic one. He is a humble, holy man who was right about the utmost foundations of the Faith — about Charity and Hope and Faith. But he didn’t even begin to grasp that he might be wrong in some relatively minor ways. He didn’t see that not all of his certainties were justified.

  17. “Council of the media”? The media distort everything?

    I think that’s mostly baloney. Even when it said by then-Pope Benedict near the end of this term.

    The media report what’s going on. Of course they’re not 100% accurate, but they’re not this sinister force some make them out to be.

    I think, for example, of Xavier Rynne, as carried by The New Yorker. He’s a Catholic priest, for heaven’s sake. He was at the council, and he pretty much accurately reported what happened there. It caused a media sensation – because it was sensational, that’s all.

    Near as I can tell, some people don’t like what the V2 bishops from the majority said in their speeches; they don’t like how the votes went; they don’t like what the Council decided. So they blame it on the media for reporting… for reporting what the bishops said, how the votes went, what the Council really decided.

    To some extent, Pope Emeritus Benedict seems to be one of those people.

    I observe that the general thrust of Xavier Rynne, to stay with this example, is pretty much supported by the excellent scholarship on the Council by the Bologna school and by Fr. John O’Malley.

    I’m not aware of anyone who has uncovered distortions or inaccuracies or fabrications in Xavier Rynne’s account.

    There’s no smoking gun here. Vatican II really happened. Don’t blame the media for getting the story out.

    awr

    1. @Anthony Ruff, OSB – comment #34:
      Follow up and *actual* Xavier Rynne media article that speaks to Francis’s homily remarks: (interesting – published in America exactly 50 years and one month ago – funny how history repeats itself)

      http://conciliaria.com/2013/03/vatican-ii-early-appraisal/#more-2311

      Key points:
      – “A recent issue of Osservatore Romano explains the conduct of some curial officials who seemed to be out of sympathy with papal directives calling for the forward march of the Church.”
      – “An important problem presented itself in the debate on the liturgy and in later sessions, namely, the Churchs need to prove itself the refuge of the poor and of sinners. Many bishops from Africa, South America and the mission territories had demanded a radical change in the vestments worn by bishops in ecclesiastical ceremonies. But they went much further in saying that the Church must be identified once more, as it was in apostolic times, with those crying in the wilderness for social, racial and economic justice at all levels of society. They were fully supported by Cardinals Gerlier of France and Lercaro of Italy, Patriarch Maximos IV and numerous other prelates.”
      – “….fails to deal explicitly with the problem of reconciling certain strongly “conservative” attitudes with the Popes call for an aggiornamento, that is, for a turning away from the pessimistic attitudes of what he referred to as “the prophets of doom” and a searching for new ways of saying and doing things that will put the spiritual reality of the Church before modern man as an unavoidable challenge. It is clear that the “conservative” ideas of some prelates about what should constitute pastoral theology, in contrast to doctrinal or polemical theology, differed greatly from those of others. Many judged them to be also out of harmony with the Pope’s own desires.”

  18. “And Fritz wonders why we are so giddy?”

    I think it’s less schadenfreude (I really wish my Catholic brothers and sisters would give up the six candles and join the fun) and more a sense of hope. Finally. I almost want to break out into “At Last.”

    The Church has a mountain of work to do in the world. Not just realizing the untouched aspects of Vatican II. I for one feel invigorated, like I have something to look forward to when I head into the parish office mornings and weekends. When I talk to (for example) a cradle Catholic who was leaning to agnosticism who came to Holy Thursday and said, “I can give this guy a chance,” I think I have reason to be pleased. Or even giddy.

    I think there’s a great spiritual beauty in the experience of rupture from the past, of being shaken up by God and being renewed and sent to horizons I never thought I would see. If some people want to stay at home, good for them. I hope they find what they’re looking for there–the Lord himself would bless that choice for some.

    For me, I’m happy to journey into unexplored lands. I’m not afraid, and I’m not afraid to say it.

    1. @Todd Flowerday – comment #37:

      Todd, agreed. As I stated at another previous post almost a month ago, he’s the Pope of Hope !
      I haven’t felt this good about being a Catholic in almost a decade and
      I think the church is coming off “life support” and near death.

      It’s no longer an argument about how long a fiddle back chasuble should be, about effeminate lace, ermine and other silliness but rather how will the church position itself and once again become a beacon of hope to the world, proclaim the good news of salvation, not the good news that archaic vestments and red shoes are trendy and finally to be taken seriously again.

  19. Interesting, isn’t it?!: how that when Benedict and quite a few others call for a liturgical praxis that is more informed by heritage, as is right and just, they are (wrongly) thought by some to be trying to ‘turn the clock back’ (how silly!), whilst those who call for a manner of church governance more informed by real or imagined customs of the primitive Church are not at all thought to be trying to ‘turn the clock back’, but are lionised as paragons of progressive genius. (Not that I am by any means opposed to obviously needed and long overdue reforms of curia and church government: but there IS something of an inconsistent ratiocination at work here.)

    1. @M. Jackson Osborn – comment #40:
      Liturgical praxis must also be aimed at the sanctification of the faithful, and an effective presentation of the Gospel to believers and non-Christians alike. This is where Pope Benedict and his quite a few others have failed: treating liturgy like a traditional devotion. Six candlesticks like prison bars and a little-bitty crucifix: very traditional, but not terribly fruitful.

      It’s nothing to do with genius. It’s about leadership that will inspire all people, not a favored few.

      1. @Todd Flowerday – comment #45:
        “Liturgical praxis must also be aimed at the sanctification of the faithful…”

        True, and what I and my Catholic grade school and Catholic high school classmates experienced in the post-Vatican II period (mid-’70s through ’86) definitely did NOT sanctify the faithful. When I finally read the documents of Vatican II (in my early 30s), I was astonished by what I didn’t find!
        – nothing about removing the kneelers, artwork or icons
        – nothing about moving the tabernacle off the altar
        – nothing about ‘folk’ Masses and everyone on the altar
        – nothing about dumbing down catechesis or ignoring the basics of the faith

        My classmates? The majority of them are no longer Catholic. In fact, I find many of them know very little of the faith they abandoned. This can’t be all be blamed on JPII and BenXVI; neither is it really to be blamed on Vatican II. Yes, we bear responsibility for our actions, our sins; but so do the bishops and priests who foisted upon us some bastardized version of Vatican II. This is where those bishops and priests “have failed” – failing to treat liturgy as a “traditional devotion” and instead treating it as their plaything, their private petri dish: very “in the Spirit,” modern and “relevant, “but not terribly fruitful.”
        From where I stand, nothing about that “Spirit of Vatican II” cultivated sanctification, holiness, and a desire to have a relationship with God.

        So when I hear the Poper Francis talking about not turning back the clock, I hear him speaking to those (“favored few”?) who took advantage of Vatican II and decided that “anything goes” when it comes to liturgy and the faith. I hear him saying that the faith – especially the liturgy – is not grounded upon the whims of each individual.

      2. @Christopher Francis – comment #57:
        Not knowing anything about your and your classmates’ schools, anything I might say about them would be speculation. Some Catholic schools did better with addressing the signs of the times. Others isolated themselves and created school cultures to fill the loss of ethnic Catholic enclaves, which I think were one of the main factors in reinforcing cultural Catholicism in the US until the second half of the 20th century.

        My grammar school, on the other hand, admitted non-Catholics in 1969. That led to my own baptism in 1970. Back in the 50’s when my parents wanted to adopt their baptized-Catholic foster child, the pledge to send her to Catholic school was deemed inadequate. The priest in charge of Catholic Charities insisted they convert to Catholicism, an impossibility because of their previous marriages.

        While some might say I would be a “bad fruit” of Vatican II, I stand in comparison to my parents’ would-be daughter, who ended up bouncing from Catholic home to Catholic home and the last time I chatted with her in 1983, was a born-again evangelical.

        In my experience, Vatican II opened the door to me to become a Catholic, enabled me to get a theological degree, and has allowed me to serve as a lay minister for a quarter-century. As a parish liturgist, I see the fruits of those who have engaged the Council and taken advantage of its opportunities.

        Clearly, people are alienated from post-conciliar Catholicism for a host of reasons, Humanae Vitae probably being the first of them. But sociological surveys in the 70’s did not show that people left in droves because of liturgy.

        As for today, I have a conservative priest friend who adopts George Weigel as his mentor for Sunday preaching. Not even the document his own bishops produced last year. Go figure.

        I woud love to sit down with other liturgists and clergy and even Pope Francis/Cardinal O’Malley to get to the bottom of why Catholicism isn’t doing as well as we could be in the US. I probably have more questions than ideas. But from the trenches, I’ve seen a lot in the past 25-40 years. I’m inclined to think we’ve been too timid rather than too rash.

      3. @Todd Flowerday – comment #60:

        Todd, I didn’t know you were a convert. I think that goes a long way to explain why our liturgical worldviews are very different. I was baptized about a day after my birth in a Catholic hospital to two parents from relatively devout backgrounds. My father’s family is so staunchy Catholic you would think that they have reprints from the Baptism of Poland.

        My early childhood was suffused with Catholic symbolism from the very beginning: one grandmother’s Sacred Heart print, another’s Lady of Częstochowa. For a good part of my education, my parents interpreted the in loco parentis of the lay-brothers and priests quite literally — I was practically raised by them. I realize in retrospect, like most cradle Catholics, that an innocent trust of the clergy and religious was often a profound mistake. The worst that happened to me was hours in detention for chronic tardiness.

        I suspect that a large part of my attraction to the EF is not dissimilar to those of diverse faiths or cultures who are on a search for “authenticity”. Of course, no experience is ever framed in a pure authenticity. All experiences, past and future, are just as complex as the present moment. Pope Francis is also a cradle Catholic. I sense, though can’t say for sure, that he was also immersed in Catholic culture and education from an early age. His advanced age gives him a much greater wisdom. This is why young EF enthusiasts must listen to his homilies and sermons to see the “cradle” perspective from the wide angle view. Yeah, I immaturely rejected our new Holy Father when he didn’t appear in the Baroque replica vestment set from the get-go. Appearances deceive.

        Thank you Todd for telling your story. Now I see why I haven’t given your perspective due attention.

    2. @M. Jackson Osborn – comment #40:
      MJO – I guess I don’t find this any more interesting now than when you made the same point on April 7, comment #64, to the post “Pope Francis Reverts to Pastoral Staff of Paul VI.” My response is at #66, I won’t repeat it here.
      awr

  20. A good preacher and Pope Francis is certainly that, is one who can afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted and a poor listener is the one who thinks the preacher is speaking about everyone else but him/herself. I think the Holy Father is quite enigmatic and hard to pin down and is going to reform all camps and all groups in the Church, he’s going to reform people and structures will be secondary and the ongoing reform of the liturgy will be low on his radar screen as too much ink has been spilled over it already in the last 50 years, way too much. I think the people on the right and the left who think the pope is useless unless he agrees with them are the ones who are grasping at straws. So let’s see what the Holy Father says tomorrow and which camp of this highly divided Church claims victory. Change, grow and develop can be applied to every single soul and is a good thing as long as the changing, the growing and the developing is in conformity with the perfection of Christ or recognition that it is leading away from Christ brings one to his/her knees in the confessional. As I’ve said before, Evangelical Catholicism is where it is.

  21. KLS – *no mas*

    Hard to resist when the spiel is just that.

    Evangelical Catholicism – is that like *Republican Catholic Bishops* who support individualism over community; forgot the concept of common good; and think that the *preferential option for the poor* is just that – an option and choice we can reject or ignore.

  22. Charles – #42 – thanks for the kind and gracious reply. So, how best to respond when Allan goes off on his usual tangent – misquoting; twisting what others have said to support his ideology; his tendency to cut/paste and repeat from his own blog? Obviously, some can just ignore but it impacts the goal of PTB; it lowers the conversation to the lowest common denominator; it reduces everything to a traditional vs. progressive battleground; it appears to come out of some sense of fear and anger which results in caricaturizing folks (70-80s bugaboo); dismissing people who have invested themselves in the church; changing the subject; weak attempts at humor; etc.

    As awr stated a few posts ago about Fr. Z – he asked that someone not copy/paste from that blog because he found Fr. Z to be irresponsible, etc. He has asked me the same with Allan. In what way is Allan different? No response means what – agree with; complicit with; who cares; what? See the other blog and Paul Inwood’s reply to the off hand *Motel 6* put down – obviously, Allan has no experience of what he says or is just plain ignorant. Or, the above comments about the *council of the media*.

    So, Charles, what’s the solution?

    1. Oh thanks, Bill, like I have a solution to ecclesiology? Were that so, I’d also have the unified field theory of physics in my pocket too!
      All of us, here at PTB, CMAA, NLM and even RCaeli or whatever acronymns we spout our intensities need to realize we play for the same team ultimately, and must subsume our inclinations to dwell in symptoms rather than solutions to the root ailments. Yes, at first blush that’s “Pollyanna” naivete. But e’en that, followed by “through Christ our Lord” puts the Enemy at bay.
      My personal hero priest, an infirm OSB finishing his journey in solitude with nurses in residence in Tucson, taught me this most invaluable lesson in homiletics, he a devotee of Fulton Sheen: the finest preaching is that which is intended for oneself. His mother used to bust his chops for coming off in the “pulpit” as a faux Sheen. But the maxim is true.
      As our phantom conscience, KLS, has systematically reminded us, the echo chamber of cyberfame and the great echo chambers can effect a change, or magnify our flaws, in our basic raison d’etres. It pains me to observe that at some point our good (I mean GOOD) friend Allan started mingling his Q factor with his convictions and the good rationale was amended on the fly with his rising following and the lamentable joke about being a “Pre-Cog” clairvoyant, which then became a free-standing tenet and foil for many premises advanced here and at SO.But none of that means his mission, work and intent has gone south of Macon. It seems to me that the exchanges between the blogs is like an existential poker game, everyone pretending that by bluffing, calling, raising stakes, challenging character and dignity (so repugnant) and all that we play here actually is “real.” Whose face is on the coins we wager? Either our own or some other Caesar’s, but not His.
      We are losing “face,” ironically, in the world stage. We are not holding center. We are not founded in humility and grace among our own baptized and confirmed. And our follies here, and at both NCR’s and elsewhere only add to our chaos.
      So, you ask me, what is our solution? We (I) must start by always pressing “stop” on the narrative in my mind about what is correct, what isn’t, what is intellectually infallible, and what is a fool’s wisdom, and listen to each other. And I am the worst offender in that realm of sin.
      It seems to me that all of us, in all camps arguing hot air in the western, unexiled and unpersecuted Church of the West, have taken our cues from Herod Antipas, and will demand the head of whatever truth teller annoys us if there’s just the slightest of carnal satisfaction and an ant hill’s triumph.
      We who claim Christ’s mandate to love God totally, and then the fellow next to us as if s/he were Christ, must re-discipline ourselves to that maxim 24/7, particularly here on the web, which ain’t called the web for nothing.
      No one here is the Enemy. And moreso, no one here is gifted with any more dignity and hope of redemption than any other. And we must swallow that, digest it, become it and exemplify it here, there and everywhere.Communion, I suppose, is what we call it.

  23. Anthony Ruff, OSB : @Matthew Morelli – comment #23: To change, to grow to develop, is not necessarily an insult on what went before. Francis was clearly elected with a “reform mandate” from the cardinals. Many have said so openly and publicly. So far, Francis is doing what he thinks needs doing, including making changes. This is with all due respect to Benedict, and to where the Church was a year or five years ago. It’s OK to be in a different place now. It’s OK to let go of the past and move on – gently, graciously, gratefully. awr

    For once, I agree with your words (although I might disagree as to where we should move), but, having no Italian, is “turn back the clock” the right idiom and meaning (Liturgiam Authenticam anyone? *grin*)
    “Turning back the clock” is a loaded phrase, now, in English. Did he really express that ‘pregnant’ meaning? (I don’t know; I’m asking.) Or is he talking about something else? Intransigence? Which is different. Would someone fluent in Italian chime in on that shade of meaning?

    1. @Christopher Douglas – comment #47:
      The Italian simply says that, ‘There are voices that want to go back.’ I don’t know how ‘turning the clock back’ would sound in Italian (or if it’s even an actual phrase in Italian the way it is in English — I’m very, very far from fluent). But in any case ‘turning back the clock’ is not a phrase he actually used.

      1. @Charles Macnamara – comment #51:
        Thank you. I wondered if he used the word “clock” in Italian and if “turning back the clock” has the same incendiary meaning in Italian that it has in English.

        But the Editor chose to put “but some ‘wish to turn back the clock’ ” in the headline of this post. I just wondered if that American idiom captured the meaning of what the Holy Father actually said. I don’t know. For instance, could he have been aiming his remarks more at the current Curia, who don’t want a new broom to sweep clean? I don’t know. Or is he telling the SSPX that ‘it’s my way or the highway’? Or is he telling the LCWR that their entrenched positions cannot stand? Or is he telling us all to let go of some pious comfort of whatever stripe? Is it 1962 or 1970 or 1998 or 2010? or none of the above? Time will tell.

    2. @Christopher Douglas – comment #47:

      The literal phrase used was “ci sono voci che vogliono andare indietro” — “there are voices that wish to go backwards”.

      Indeed, you suggest well that such a loaded phrase did not exist in the original Italian. The exact strength and connotation of “andare indietro” I will leave to those more fluent in Italian than me.

      Indeed, I will still contend (as a response to Fr. Anthony’s #49) that the sense here seems to make no distinction between those who refuse to to accept the developments from the Council and those who refuse to accept the correctives to repair and move past the liberal misapplication (or non-application) of some aspects the Council.

      Having gone back and re-read the RV article, I’m not only sticking to my view, but doubling down on it.

      Pope Francis makes reference to the Church at large right before his “turn back the clock” statement. He says “We celebrate this anniversary, we put up a monument but we don’t want it to upset us. We don’t want to change[…]” — you will find few traditionalists “celebrating” the anniversary of the Council (even those who willingly accept it) and virtually none “putting up monuments” — that part of the Holy Father’s message is directed to everyone else.

      The Pope is calling everyone out — to walk a more evangelical path while listening to the Spirit. That knows no bounds of traditional or progressive, and can’t be compartmentalized into those two categories; both camps have the potential to be effective at the work of evangelization.

      To read this as only as “Francis rebukes traditionalists” is simply wrong.

      1. @Matthew Morelli – comment #52:
        It may well be that Francis is calling everyone out, left and right, in his affirmation of the Second Vatican Council, but I don’t see that in this text.

        My reading of the news reports (and I regret we don’t have the entire text of the Pope) of how he affirmed Vatican II and criticized those who want to go backwards is that he criticizes those who want to go back to before Vatican II. This is the “rebuke” of traditionalists.

        Maybe deep down he does want to critique what you call the “liberal misapplications” including those who want to go back to, or stay stuck in, the 1970s. But I don’t hear him saying that here. “To go backwards” appears to refer to going back before Vatican II in this context.

        awr

      2. @Anthony Ruff, OSB – comment #72:
        Just as others read in the news reports ” how he affirmed Vatican II and criticized those who want to go backwards” to a select implementation of Vatican II, to the time just after the Council (’70s).
        The key words, to me, are,
        “have we done everything the Holy Spirit was asking us to do during the Council,” he asked. The answer is “No,” said Pope Francis. “We celebrate this anniversary, we put up a monument but we don’t want it to upset us. We don’t want to change…
        If the accusation against the “traditionalists” (not SSPX or other schismatics) is an incomplete or selective implementation of Vatican II,, the “progressives” stand equally accused, and therefore equally addressed by Pope Francis.

      3. @Christopher Francis – comment #74:
        “Who want to go backwards” sure looks like a rebuke of those who want to go back to before Vatican II.

        The meaning of the part you put in boldface is unclear to me. Those who don’t want to change could really mean anyone, and doesn’t necessarily mean progressives. Maybe it does, but I don’t see the text being clear enough for your claim.

        awr

      4. @Anthony Ruff, OSB – comment #75:
        The question is, have “progressives” done “everything the Holy Spirit was asking us to do during the Council”?
        From my perspective and experience, the answer is a resounding NO.

      5. @Christopher Francis – comment #79:
        Well we have two levels here: what YOU think, and what you think HE thinks.

        As to what you think – I’d say all of us on all sides have more to do in implementing Vatican II.

        awr

      6. @Anthony Ruff, OSB – comment #72:

        but I don’t see that in this text.

        He says those who “put up a monument but we don’t want it to upset us” i.e. celebrate the council, which is certainly not Traditionalists.

        is that he criticizes those who want to go back to before Vatican II. This is the “rebuke” of traditionalists.

        Except that nowhere in the text does he actually SAY that or talk about “before” Vatican II. He says “go backwards” but not “before Vatican II” that’s your gloss. It could be “go back to entrenched curial culture” or “go back to laziness” or whatever.

      7. @Samuel J. Howard – comment #76:
        Samuel – exactly, as I said, he doesn’t say “before Vatican II,” but I said that the context sure makes it look like it means that. That’s all we have – our best efforts to interpret it based on context. If you don’t share my interpretation of what it means in context, fine – let’s leave it at that.

        And you also have a good point, I should have said rebuke of “conservatives” rather than “traditionalists.” I didn’t have in mind “traditionalists” such as SSPX. I was thinking of “conservatives” who are alive and well in the RC church, but want to celebrate the reformed liturgy or teach Catholic faith with a pre-Vatican II mindset.

        awr

      8. @Anthony Ruff, OSB – comment #72:

        I think that Fr. Ruff is entirely correct about the plain meaning of Pope Francis’s statement. Fr. Allan’s [April 17, 2013 – 6:37 am] observations add another perspective to both Fr. Ruff’s observation and Pope Francis’s statement. Fr. Allan writes, “Pope Francis would be guilty of malpractice if he didn’t call them [the SSPX] “fools.” ” (my addition)

        It’s crucial to see traditionalism from the viewpoint of Pope Francis’s tenure as Archbishop of Buenos Aires. Pope Francis strikes me as an extremely solicitous person. He seems like a person who will try to listen to another person’s perspective, even if the other person is belligerent. It’s very important to remember that Buenos Aires is an epicenter of Lefebvrist activity. I don’t know about most PTB readers, but I have found dealing with SSPX faithful to be at best annoying and at worst infuriating. I suspect Pope Francis’s brushes with the SSPX have sorely tested Pope Francis’s charity. I completely agree with Pope Francis if his comment was directed at the SSPX. In fact, his statement was too kind.

        I’ll be the first to say that Pope Francis might be even better for moderate traditionalists than Pope Benedict. Benedict defined “traditionalism” on his terms only. The SSPX is absolutely not part of my traditional faith. Pope Benedict’s attempts to accommodate them greatly disturbed me. Now that it’s quite possible that Pope Francis has no desire to negotiate with Econe, there’s an opening to create a new traditional hermeneutic of the EF which grapples with and eventually embraces the documents of the Second Vatican Council. The SSPX is the dead weight which is holding back traditionalists from entering into the theological and moral imperatives of the Council.

      9. @Jordan Zarembo – comment #82:
        Jordan once I read the SSPX communique, Pope Francis remarks made much more sense to me and I do think that he’s speaking about ultra-traditionalists who have rejected a significant part of Vatican II, which Pope Benedict tried desperately to bring them back into the fold but failed. At least we know what is at stake now.
        But traditionalists, such as SSPX, haven’t made a monument of Vatican II at all, they dismiss it. So my conjecture is that the monument builders of Vatican II are those who manipulated it and set it into concrete in terms of rupture rather than continuity. My prayer is that Pope Francis will ultimately be seen in continuity with Pope Benedict, meaning, Vatican II renewal in continuity, not rupture. That has implications for many areas of the Church including liturgy and governance.

  24. I was going to make a calming statement about not getting too worked up about literal translations–but then I remembered where I was.
    😉

  25. I wonder if the Holy Father’s remarks about those wanting to turn the clock back didn’t stem from Bishop’s Fellay’s communique within the last few days with his friends and benefactors. It seems that the SSPX are the ones repudiating the outreach of Pope Benedict by their desire to turn the clock back and keep it back. If this communique is the basis of Pope Francis homily on Tuesday, it certainly is a welcomed pronouncement on the birthday of Pope Benedict who tried to move the SSPX forward but without success. If anyone is rebuking and repudiating Pope Benedict it certainly would be the SSPX and their intransigence as it concerns the Second Vatican Council made clear in this communique. Pope Francis would be guilty of malpractice if he didn’t call them “fools.”

    http://sspx.org/superior_generals_news/supgen_80.html

  26. It seems too that we have what could possibly be the flip-side of the SSPX, the LCWR and their arrogance to Pope Francis and Pope Benedict and their unwillingness to move forward as made clear in this article in the NCR by Joshua J. McElwee. I think the two opposites are quite related.

    “Sr. Mary Ann Hinsdale, a theologian at Boston College and member of the Immaculate Heart of Mary community, said she was “very disappointed” with the news and said it may suggest Catholics are still learning how Pope Francis will handle delicate matters.
    “All these nice gestures” — for example, the decisions to wash women’s feet on Holy Thursday and to wear more basic liturgical vestments — “don’t necessarily say what he thinks theologically or with regard to his understanding of religious in North America,” Hinsdale said.”

    http://ncronline.org/node/49821

    1. @Fr. Allan J. McDonald – comment #59:

      I do not see anything in the scattered remarks on LCWR that is comparable to the twisting distortions from SSPX. The latter is just hard to read, as they praise obedience and they flaunt their disobedience. They claim a divine mandate that negates the papal mandate, even as they give lip service to the Pope.

      And this is almost entirely rooted in their relationship to Benedict XVI, not Francis. Their arrogance is just sad.

      1. @Jim McKay – comment #65:
        Yes. I think of those two sons in the Gospel. One said, “Yes, I will do it.” He did not. The other said, “No, I won’t.” But he did. Which one was justified?

        I visit this blog only occasionally and I am always saddened by what I read here. Such navel gazing. Such fussiness with the non-essentials.

        Good luck, Fathers of the Old Dispensation. You had a chance to take the former pope’s generosity and show your magnanimity, but you gloated over the “liberals” and “progressives”. You were your own worst enemies.

        I wish you no ill will. In fact, you are to be pitied more than scorned. But please understand, your futile attempt to revive the Tridentine era is over. In fact, it was never a real possibility. The promptings of the Holy Spirit, which clearly imbued the Second Vatican Council, cannot be suppressed — even if you thought that your favourite neo-Trid prelates had become successful in suppressing them.

        Get out of your cassocks, your sumptuous rectories and your guilded sanctuaries and go feed the poor, visit the sick and take on the “smell of the sheep.”

  27. Having read Bishop Fellay’s manifesto cited above, I am all the more persuaded that there is a full blown schism which is irresolvable. He is living in some kind of time warp that requires him to adopt a hermeneutic which allows for no points of view other than that the mass and the church of 1962 is the measure of orthodoxy and orthopraxy. I presume they reject the tools of biblical criticism and remain locked in catholic fundamentalism. They must think that all papal statements and conciliar decrees issued prior to Vatican II are inviolable and perhaps infallible. But they’ve found a hardy band of sympathizers to whom they can administer valid sacraments so more power to them. Lets keep in mind that many of the trads that are still with us are inspired by many of the things which Fellay’s says. They definitely want to turn the clocks back to the imagined golden age which preceded Vatican II. I empathize though with people like our friend, Jordan, who make every effort to discern all that is truly beneficial from the past and present. But I am convinced more than ever that the two forms of the mass represent significantly different eccesiologies that are probably irreconcilable. I hope I’m wrong.

  28. Todd – wonder if this is the real issue:

    “….Some in the church have become adept at co-opting the word “liberation” and the language of the preferential option for the poor. Many leaders in the church are still steeped in the mindset of Catholic corporatism. The institutional church is strictly ordered, and many in the hierarchy are uncomfortable with disorder and chaos. But we know from psychology and pedagogy that any human learning process is messy. I think some church leaders were and are trying to maintain order and make life more comfortable for the masses of people, but they are not really committed to helping everybody be an adult, sit at the table, and have a voice, whether in the church or society. Real democracy is messy, and growing up is messy and filled with conflict, and I think that’s what many in the institutional church have been uncomfortable with. They want the poor to be better off, but always while maintaining order, and ultimately, that means not allowing anyone outside the power structure to tell them what to do.”

    from Nicholas Nickoloff; emeritus professor of systematic theology at the College of the Holy Cross; now teaching at CTU.

    Sisters can be a *threat* to current power structures.

  29. To add to the above comments and specific to the LCWR:

    http://ncronline.org/blogs/ncr-today/san-francisco-charities-event-honors-women-religious-setting-records

    Highlights:
    – “This year organizers chose to honor the 650 women religious from 48 congregations working in the San Francisco archdiocese. (Word is it was the choice of San Francisco Archbishop Emeritus George Niederauer.)

    The citation noted “their vital role in building schools, hospitals, orphanages, homeless shelters, homes for the elderly, and many other charitable institutions, including a partnership with Catholic Charities CYO that began more than a century ago.”

    Event raised over $500,000 (almost twice the usual) and began with the 1855 St. Vincent’s School founding by two DCs.

    Suggest setting up a call between emeritus archibishop George and Macon, GA – who knows? Miracles can still happen.

    1. @Bill deHaas – comment #67:
      Sooooo…500 people in San Francisco = “What Catholics in America think about the LCWR” – is that the point you are trying to make?
      The problem with the “Catholics in America support the nuns” mantra when used in connection with the LCWR is that there is no distinction between which nuns are supported; in short, the sentiment lumps all nuns together.
      Sure, as a blanket statement, one can say that Catholics in American support women religious, just as they support men religious.
      I’m not so certain that Catholics in America support every order in the LCWR, or that Catholics in America have a problem with the Vatican investigation.

  30. Regarding the nun issue #67): (I am not one.) My take is that His Holiness will not refute the previous ruling on the nuns, which would be a break with BXVI, which is something he will be careful not to do, but will support it and then quietly, over time, replace the Bishops in charge, who MIGHT be proceeding with personal animus and certain “issues” will be (quietly) negotiated and the nuns will continue their great work. Nuns and bishops (to my reading of history since the Beguines, at least) have often been at odds. Maybe it is better that they are nuns and not co-opted into the lowest level of the old boys network of priesthood. (Just kidding, of course.) My suggestion is to wait to see how it shakes out before we grieve (celebrate) depending on your point of view.

    Clearly, I am a person in ministry in the church with attitudes and a feminist orientation, but I really LIKE the pope, for the first time ever. I give him the benefit of the doubt, because so far, I like what he says and what he has done so far. God Bless him! And God preserve these nuns!

    1. @Anne Moore – comment #68:

      My take is that His Holiness will not refute the previous ruling on the nuns, which would be a break with BXVI, which is something he will be careful not to do, but will support it and then quietly, over time, replace the Bishops in charge, who MIGHT be proceeding with personal animus and certain “issues” will be (quietly) negotiated and the nuns will continue their great work.

      Just finished reading the Wall Street Journal new E-book on Pope Francis which is interesting because it draws heavily on people that are very familiar with the economics and politics of Argentina not just religion reporters. In covering many issues (Dirty War, Sexual Abuse, Politics) it is heavy on the facts and light on interpretation.

      He broke down church hierarchies that he believed distracted priests from the work of evangelizing. He ended a system of perks whereby priests were given successively more-desirable parishes in richer neighborhoods….. He frowned on careerist priests and discouraged many from studying or taking posts at the Vatican…He approved very few such requests, a decision that disappointed some priests under his watch. Staff of The Wall Street Journal, The (2013-04-16). Pope Francis: From the End of the Earth to Rome (Kindle Locations 882-886). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

      When speaking privately, he conversed in quiet, measured tones. At the same time, he delivered strong homilies that turned him into among the most powerful critics of Argentine society. Staff of The Wall Street Journal, The (2013-04-16). Pope Francis: From the End of the Earth to Rome (Kindle Locations 872-873). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

      “Everybody is talking peace and love, and that’s all right,” says Alberto Barriaga, a journalist and onetime Peronist political operative. “But he’s a real tough son of a bitch. He’s a Jesuit. He doesn’t move directly on an objective. He will surround it and when it is the right moment, he will pulverize it,” he says, slamming his hand on the table. Staff of The Wall Street Journal, The (2013-04-16). Pope Francis: From the End of the Earth to Rome (Kindle Locations 1021-1024). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

      Francis in Argentina was big on symbolic gestures that captured people’s imagination, very articulate in his homilies, but generally low keyed, patient, below the radar scene in his persistent efforts to get people to come around to his viewpoint. He left a priest who had doubts about his vocation take a year leave of absence, work in a factory, have a girl friend (the guy did not think he would come back) but saw him once a month just to listen. The priest decided he was functioning like a priest in the factory, and became one of Francis slum pastors.

  31. I meant to say more about the LCWR but was so saddened by the SSPX that I could not.

    There is some truth in the CDF’s doctrinal assessment, mainly that the sisters have become alienated from the bishops. That breach needs to be healed, and IMO opinion it has to be done by the bishops. The sisters are the foot soldiers of Francis’ reform, the people who can lead the Church to the poor. The bishops need to move in their direction if they are learning from Francis.

    This leaves Abp Muller in an awkward position. It may be difficult for him to implement this plan, based on B16’s ideology, under Francis. Not that he cannot handle the theology, but the embattled struggle against secularism is not in tune with Francis the hopeful servant of the poor. I would not be surprised if he is replaced soon and by someone more sympathetic to the LCWR.

    1. @Jim McKay – comment #69:

      There is perhaps some difference between the LCWR and the Pope. I think perhaps Francis service to the poor is precisely because he is orthodox, whereas the sisters might have lost some of that connection along the way.

      This however is not beyond correction, and Francis is likely the best person to do this, as it seems he will also be correcting with equal or greater force those making the opposite error (and there are plenty of those as well).

  32. Nice spin, Allan. And thanks to Jordan for his very thoughtful comments. I had been thinking that he was an SSPX sympathizer. My bad. A blessed day to all on the right, left, and center!

    1. @Jack Feehily – comment #84:
      Jack, agree – what spin!! More mumbo-jumbo…same commenter has taken my above posting from American magazine fifty years ago written by Xavier Rynne; thus after the first session of Vatican II. There still were three years/sessions to go and almost all of the future documents and votes were yet to be held.

      But, in his re-writing of history, he posits that this early article (which is mostly factual) begins the *dreaded* council of the media – thus, Xavier is part of the big bad progressive media and it was this *progressive* interpretation of the sessions that led to rupture and the conspiracy that led to Vatican II being *wrongly interpreted and implemented*……really, can’t get any more conspiratorial….faux Oliver Stone.

      So, even before the last three sessions of Vatican II, we have the *monument builders of Vatican II* manipulating their rupture; as if the 2500+ bishops had nothing to do with this?

      And the newest *monument* – why, *continuity with Benedict* – hope someone has erected this with votive lights.

    2. @Jack Feehily – comment #84:
      I think a lot of us make assumptions about people and use indelicate terms to do so, I’m as guilty as anyone, but what I have read of Jordan’s posts is that he likes the EF Mass and prefers it and is spiritually nourished by it and Pope Benedict freeing it from limited jurisdiction has allowed him to be sustained spiritually by what our forebears had as an ordinary experience of the Mass. There are many like him who want to remain in the full communion of the Church and not have to go searching for the former “Ordinary Mass” in the wrong places.

    3. @Jack Feehily – comment #84:

      No, It’s okay Father for you to think that I am a schismatic at times. My liturgical opinions are quite diverse, perhaps insane at times. There is a fundamental and maybe even irreconcilable break between living the extraordinary form and ensuring its unity to the Second Vatican Council. I’d like to think that a reconciliation can and should be top priority, but I’ve long suspected that even those who do not publicly self-identify as SSPX harbor an absolute resistance to even having an introspective public debate about the EF and the Council. There’s no time like now to have this talk, and the clergy and laity from across the liturgical spectrum should participate. PTB is a good start, but I have in mind national or even Vatican-level discussions.

      Once Todd Flowerday observed that the EF lacks an evangelistic motive. This is very true. We who attend the EF have become a people who not infrequently frighten away the interested with an extremely insular perspective. The issue is not necessarily Latin or ad orientem. It’s the inability of EF adherents to consider the complexity of postmodern Catholicism and honestly and soberly confront our fears about the changes of the last half century.

  33. Who doesn’t support women religious? Why not? Almost every good thing that can be said about me today is a product of women religious as teachers in parochial schools. I just left the hospital (knee surgery) and the chaplain who came to see wasn’t a priest, it was a nun. Twice. We had very nice conversations and reception of the Eucharist, and I’m glad she was there. This isn’t to say I advocate women religious setting policies for the church, but to suggest that the public is not fond of them is ridiculous and flies in the face of the San Francisco event mentioned and general polling data. In the eyes of the public – Catholics and non-Catholics alike – very little harm has come to them via women religious, but you can’t quite say the same thing about priests.

  34. I am a regular reader at PrayTell but haven’t contributed before.

    It seems relevant to this conversation about turning the clock back but forgive me if you judge it inappropriate. [A parish letter emphasizes modesty of dress in church.] It appears that our newish parish priest has the ear of a very small minority and a very conservative agenda is literally being forced upon us. I have worshipped at this US church for more than 35 years and it’s feeling less and less like the spiritual home I knew and loved as time goes by. This is against the background of congregational hymns within mass being dropped for sung propers by the choir and more and more Latin etc. Is it really the wish of the pope and our bishops that children should be banned from wearing shorts at mass? I have a photo of my brother receiving his FHC wearing shorts and red sash in this church pre-Vatican II! What can I do? Alternative catholic churches are too far for me to travel in this rural location.

  35. John Allen started speaking about mega trends in the Catholic Church during the papacy of Pope Benedict and in 2008 describe Catholicism becoming more “southern” and evangelical, (southern as in southern hemisphere). He seems to have been quite clairvoyant and much of what he describes can be summed up in Pope Francis forward looking ethos.
    Here are some of John Allen’s more salient points about mega trends in the church way back in 2008 and evangelical Catholicism which is quite different from the progressive drivel of secularized “northern Catholicism.”

    He defines Evangelical Catholicism in terms of three pillars:

    “A strong defense of traditional Catholic identity, meaning attachment to classic markers of Catholic thought (doctrinal orthodoxy) and Catholic practice (liturgical tradition, devotional life, and authority).

    Robust public proclamation of Catholic teaching, with the accent on Catholicism’s mission ad extra, transforming the culture in light of the Gospel, rather than ad intra, on internal church reform.

    Faith seen as a matter of personal choice rather than cultural inheritance, which among other things implies that in a highly secular culture, Catholic identity can never be taken for granted. It always has to be proven, defended, and made manifest.

    In evangelical Catholicism there is a strong emphasis on a traditional Catholic identity as a reaction against secular humanism, which has eroded Catholic institutions. Evangelical Catholicism includes a strong public proclamation, and faith as a matter of personal choice rather than a cultural influence.

    Contemporary Europe is very secular, Allen said. According to a recent poll, only 27 percent of Italians think religion is very important. In comparison, 59 percent of Americans think religion is very important. This growing secularism is a major concern for the current papacy, he said.

    Some examples of evangelical Catholicism include changes to the liturgy to reflect more accurate translations of the original biblical text, Catholic education and a culture of life.

    The first mega-trend facing the Catholic Church, according to Allen, is the transition to a “world church” due to growing Catholic populations in Africa, Asia and South America. Allen calls this “Southern Catholicism.” In the past, the Church has been dominated by Europe and North America.

    This population shift, he said, will move Church leadership to a more global focus.

    Allen noted several common characteristics of “Southern Catholicism,” including that most priests are morally conservative, but politically liberal. This is because the priests and the Church are often the only voice for the people to defend the common good in non-democratic and often tyrannical governments.
    Southern Catholicism is also biblical and not speculative. The supernatural is “very palpable and real,” Allen said. Miracles and exorcisms are the “meat and potatoes” of a supernatural spirituality.”

    1. @Fr. Allan J. McDonald – comment #90:

      Faith seen as a matter of personal choice rather than cultural inheritance, which among other things implies that in a highly secular culture, Catholic identity can never be taken for granted. It always has to be proven, defended, and made manifest.

      “Faith seen as a matter of personal choice” […] could prove detrimental to personal and corporate development in the faith. Pietism is one of the great pitfalls of Catholic traditionalism. It’s quite strange to compare Catholic traditionalism with the liturgical life of many communities in the “the Global South” (that term is problematic but, okay) because the liturgical traditions are sharply divergent. Still, traditionalists (certainly not excluding myself) often take the position that they’ve “elected to be trad” and that their convictions must be defended against the majority position in the Roman Rite. No Catholic adherent is a island of private opinion against any perceived threat, either the OF or a “highly secular culture”. These attitudes are no different than the Jansenist priests, religious, and laity who shut themselves into Port-Royal and pretended that they held the “orthodox and apostolic faith” against those dastardly liberal Jesuits.

      As seen in my PTB posts, I struggle greatly with pietism. At one point, I even proudly identified as pietist. I know now that this is a corrosive, and not beneficial, perspective on the faith. Eventually, individualized belief becomes a one-person belief.

      1. @Jordan Zarembo – comment #92:
        I think Cardinal Bergoglio is very much influenced by the piety of South Americans, especially Marian piety which would be very pungent in personal expressions of faith (pietistic?) and open to the movement of the Holy Spirit in their lives. I was pastor of a parish in Augusta that had a significant “charismatic” population. They are doctrinally conservative, but open to more progressive expressions of music and individuality in the Mass, what some might wrongly call “liberal.” They are open to miracles, the laying on of hands and popular devotions outside of the charismatic movements more emotional spirituality. I think South and Central Americans are attracted to this same type of piety and spirituality and accounts for why there are so many leaving the Catholic Church for more pentecostal forms of Christianity.
        In terms of those to whom I minister currently who love the EF Mass, many of whom home school their children (for the most part) and are quite strong in their Catholic Faith and piety, they integrate it into their everyday lives. They don’t circle the wagons but prepare themselves and their children to live in a secular and non-Catholic culture that needs a strong Catholic identity. John Allen’s observations match them exactly in terms of what Allen said: “Faith seen as a matter of personal choice rather than cultural inheritance, which among other things implies that in a highly secular culture, Catholic identity can never be taken for granted. It always has to be proven, defended, and made manifest.”
        That’s very good in my book and why I loved the charismatic community in Augusta and our EF community in my current parish!

      2. @Fr. Allan J. McDonald – comment #93:

        I think South and Central Americans are attracted to this same type of piety and spirituality and accounts for why there are so many leaving the Catholic Church for more pentecostal forms of Christianity.

        I can’t speak of Central and South American spirituality and ritual practices in specifics. I suspect that the rapid growth of pentecostal evangelicalism in these regions is not solely due to charismatic worship. Perhaps pentecostal ministers and communities provide more material and economic assistance to the poor. I sense that many North American, British, and European Catholics have very little insight into this area. A close reading of Pope Francis’s homilies will likely provide glimpses into this world, and I hope he speaks more about pentecostal evangelical Christianity.

        They don’t circle the wagons but prepare themselves and their children to live in a secular and non-Catholic culture that needs a strong Catholic identity.

        I disagree with your assessment of the integration of traditionalists into greater Catholic society. The end of the indult period and Summorum Pontificum witnessed an influx of Catholics into the EF who do not outright reject the OF but in general prefer high-church worship all around. I attend the OF, but prefer a highly tridentinized version. So while the paths of communication between the majority of the Roman Church and the EF minority are beginning to flow, not a few EF adherents will not attend an OF Mass that’s “too progressive”. Liturgical cooperation has a long way to go.

        The true mark of a liturgically tolerant Catholic is the ability to appreciate liturgy which is quite foreign and even a bit scary for a person of a very different temperament. The extreme extroversion of charismatic worship frightens me. I’m probably the only person who could score negative points on the Feeling metric of the MBTI. Many many miles to go.

  36. Curious, I looked up the pope’s remarks to the PBC. They include the following: “Hence the exegete must be attentive to perceiving the Word of God present in the biblical texts, placing them within the faith itself of the Church. The interpretation of the Sacred Scriptures cannot be only an individual scientific effort, but must always be compared, inserted and authenticated by the living tradition of the Church. This norm is decisive in specifying the correct and reciprocal relation of exegesis and the Magisterium of the Church. The texts inspired by God have been entrusted to the community of believers, to the Church of Christ, to nourish the faith and guide the life of charity. Respect for this profound nature of the Scriptures conditions the very validity and efficacy of the biblical hermeneutic. This highlights the insufficiency of every subjective interpretation or simply limited analysis incapable of receiving in itself that global sense that in the course of the centuries has constituted the Tradition of the whole People of God, which “in credendo falli nequit” (Conc. Ecum. Vat. II, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium, 12).”

    Nothing here about a feminist or a liberation-theology reading of Scriptures, or about inculturation, or modern hermeneutics, or the groundbreaking work of critical scholars.

  37. Jordan Zarembo : @Jack Feehily – comment #84: Once Todd Flowerday observed that the EF lacks an evangelistic motive. This is very true. We who attend the EF have become a people who not infrequently frighten away the interested with an extremely insular perspective. The issue is not necessarily Latin or ad orientem. It’s the inability of EF adherents to consider the complexity of postmodern Catholicism and honestly and soberly confront our fears about the changes of the last half century.

    I am new to the EF, attending since August 2012. Given the NO choices in my area, the EF is, IMO, the only reverant Mass. Honestly, I prefer a NO the way Vatican II imagined: vernacular with Latin Ordinaries; introits; Latin and vernacular hymns; mostly ad orientem.
    Anyway, I’m not certain I can call the vast majority of NO Masses I’ve attended “evangelistic” either in motive or practice. Most have been about “appeasing” or “placating,” – the folks in the pews seem to be saying, “don’t take too much time out of my Sunday, don’t ruffle my feathers or challenge me to look inside myself and have God change me; but make me feel good, make the music as much like the stuff on the radio I listen to, and help me check the box.”
    Jordan, I need your help in understanding just what is “postmodern Catholicism” and what changes since Vatican II incite fear. As I said before, nothing I read in the documents of Vatican II causes me to fear; it’s the implementation by those who saw it as a chance to do whatever they wanted (and still do) that frightens me.

    1. @Christopher Francis – comment #94:
      Christopher,
      You have a narrow, and I think rather misinformed, view of what Vatican II was about, what it intended, what the whole range of its reform impulses were, how and why the Pope approved entirely-vernacular liturgy, and so forth. You’re taking a few things out of context (Latin ordinary, for example), and really missing the whole point of the Vatican II reforms. You need to read all of Vatican II (and BTW, Gaudium et Spes has a theology of how church relates to contemporary culture that is loaded with liturgical implications), read it in context, and stop ripping a few isolated things out of context to create this whole illusions about what you think Vatican II means. Vatican II never said a word about preserving ad orientem, to name one example of how you’re pushing something out of context.
      awr

    2. @Christopher Francis – comment #94:

      Anyway, I’m not certain I can call the vast majority of NO Masses I’ve attended “evangelistic” either in motive or practice. Most have been about “appeasing” or “placating,”

      It’s important to remember that the OF is an orthodox apostolic liturgy. If it’s celebrated according to the rubrics (and most priests in my experience do just that), any accidentals such as music or the presider’s personality are not intrinsic to the liturgy. Not every priest or deacon is a Jonathan Edwards — inarticulate homilies aren’t necessarily heterodox. Also, some aspects of moral theology are best left to spiritual direction or counseling, not the pulpit. Shaming parishioners is bullying, not “orthodox” preaching.

      Jordan, I need your help in understanding just what is “postmodern Catholicism” and what changes since Vatican II incite fear.

      I do not intend “modern” or “postmodern” to be slurs. The Tridentine liturgies are the product of an anthropological and scientific early modern worldview, which valued standardization and distillation of scientific concepts, mathematics, and even ritual into highly regulated processes. By contrast, the postconciliar liturgy is “postmodern” so far as that the liturgy is based on flexible and even ad hoc concepts. Rita Ferrone adeptly explains these differences in her recent lecture at St. John’s on liturgy and the Council.

      “Fear” connotes discomfort with liturgies that do not reflect personal temperament, upbringing, culture etc. I was raised in an almost comically bourgeois background where very outgoing forms of hospitality found at some liturgies would be considered vulgar. This is not at all related to the text or theology of the ordinary form.

      1. @Jordan Zarembo – comment #2:
        Jordan, thank you for the reply!
        Absolutely, the NO is “an orthodox apostolic liturgy” – no question. For the years I was aware what constituted a licit Mass, I think I may have been to only one that was questionable.
        My point was that the idea that somehow the NO is intrinsically more “evangelistic” than the EF hasn’t played out in my experience; that includes evangelizing inside and outside the Church!

        I appreciate your comments re: postmodern liturgy; you’ve helped me understand more clearly your post.

  38. No matter which liturgical side, there will be those who love the liturgy perhaps for all the wrong reasons and become what Pope Francis described in what I call the “Magisterium of his daily homilies” as ideologues.

    This is part of what he said this morning and it is stunning and perceptive and I think a sign of where he is leading us:

    “And these, on the road of duty, load everything on the shoulders of the faithful. The ideologues falsify the gospel. Every ideological interpretation, wherever it comes from – from [whatever side] – is a falsification of the Gospel. And these ideologues – as we have seen in the history of the Church – end up being intellectuals without talent, ethicists without goodness – and let us not so much as mention beauty, of which they understand nothing.

    “Rather,” said Pope Francis, “the path of love, the way of the Gospel, is simple: it is the road that the Saints understood”:

    The saints are those who lead the Church forward! The road of conversion, the way of humility, of love, of the heart, the way of beauty … Today let us pray to the Lord for the Church: that the Lord might free her from any ideological interpretation and open the heart of the Church, our Mother Church, to the simple Gospel, to that pure Gospel that speaks to us of love, which brings love, and is so beautiful! It also makes us beautiful, with the beauty of holiness. Today let us pray for the Church.”

    He says the “falsification of the Gospel” comes from “whatever side.”
    I suspect he is speaking of the ultra traditionalists and the ultra-progressives and more specifically the academics in both camps. Interesting to say the least.

  39. More mumbo-jumbo – and yes, let Francis speak for himself….well, almost…we do end with: “….suspect he is speaking of the ultra traditionalists and the ultra-progressives and more specifically the academics in both camps. Interesting to say the least.”

    More Allan damage control and conspiracy theories – now we again add another *enemy*….academics, of course. Joins his twisted interpretation of the *council of media* line of opinion. You know, where this council started even before the second session of Vatican II distorting what the VII did and said (even before it was done and said).

    *Magisterium of daily homilies* – really? Why so fixated on the pope? The church is not the pope; the pope is not the church. Magisterium has many definitions and your centralized, hierarchical mantra was reformed at VII – guess you missed that.

    Try listening to awr – let Francis speak for himself instead of daily twisting and reinterpreting his words, intent, etc. to fit your personal ideology….do you ever think that he may be talking directly to you? (e.g. *free you from any ideological interpretation and open your heart to the simple Gospel*)

  40. Fr Ruff,
    I have read the all documents of Vatican II. Nothing in them equates to the experiences I had in my formative years – nothing. Instead, I was an unwilling subject in some bishop’s, some priests’, lab experiment. And that experiment was justified as the “fruit of Vatican II.”
    When I came back to the Church and read the documents, what I read bore no resemblance to what I experienced.
    Narrow? Misinformed? I may not agree with you and those you use to support your interpretation of Vatican II; I may not have the degrees you and they have. But in the end, it’s still your interpretation, and my disagreement with your intrepretation does not equal “narrow” and “misinformed.”
    What I know is how someone’s interpretation of Vatican II negatively influenced me, affected me.

    (BTW, Vatican II never said a word about abandoning ad orientem either.)

  41. Once Todd Flowerday observed that the EF lacks an evangelistic motive. This is very true. We who attend the EF have become a people who not infrequently frighten away the interested with an extremely insular perspective. The issue is not necessarily Latin or ad orientem. It’s the inability of EF adherents to consider the complexity of postmodern Catholicism and honestly and soberly confront our fears about the changes of the last half century.

    Come on, Jordan. No evangelistic motive in the EF community? So those people becoming Catholic in our EF community? Our efforts at outreach? Our grappling with the modern world is dishonest?

    1. @Samuel J. Howard – comment #4:

      Come on, Jordan. No evangelistic motive in the EF community? So those people becoming Catholic in our EF community? Our efforts at outreach? Our grappling with the modern world is dishonest?

      Fear is not dishonesty. The licit EF movement has two difficulties re: outreach. The first is a general inability to articulate why a peri-modern liturgy in a sacral language is relevant for not only an “average Catholic” but also any person of today. Also, I am convinced that a fear also exists among some in the EF movement that a greater evangelization will dilute the integrity of the Tridentine liturgy. Sure, people are evangelized through the EF — at the Vigil in my parish this year we received twelve converts who have been evangelized through the EF. However, a more well defined plan is needed.

      Ten years or so ago my best friend, a material atheist and avowed marxist (why the heck would he want to go to church?) pestered me into taking him to High Mass at St. Agnes a few times. He thought Mass was “beautiful”, but in the sense of an operatic production. Given his ideological inclinations, convincing him to return to Catholicism was nigh impossible. Even so, I wasn’t prepared to place early modern worship into a frame for discussion. Would it be any easier to explain the EF to a lapsed Catholic, whose only referent in current societal mores and desires? My best friend had no desire to go to the OF, as he rejected Catholic dogma and doctrine in his childhood. On the other hand, he did not see why he should follow the EF just because doctrine and ritual was merely presented in a different wrapper.

      Evangelization is more than twisting arms. It’s time to work on a post-modern argument for the attractiveness of the EF and Catholic faith lived through this liturgy.

  42. However, a more well defined plan is needed.

    This is a heckuva lot different from “the EF lacks an evangelistic motive.”

    The first is a general inability to articulate why a peri-modern liturgy in a sacral language is relevant for not only an “average Catholic” but also any person of today.

    The EF is relevant mainly for the same reason any Catholic Mass is relevant. (This is true for any meaningful definition of “relevant.” It’s not true when “relevant” is defined as “not causing a difficult confrontation with liberal secular morals and mores” or “having similar music to what you hear on pop radio.”)

    Even so, I wasn’t prepared to place early modern worship into a frame for discussion.

    That doesn’t seem to be a fault in the liturgy… assume arguendo that the reformed Mass is closer to the liturgies of the ancient Church. Why would it be easier to place late antique worship into a postmodern frame for discussion.

    1. @Samuel J. Howard – comment #7:

      The EF is relevant mainly for the same reason any Catholic Mass is relevant.

      You know what I mean by ‘relevant’. I am using the colloquial sense. “Should I go to Mass on Sunday, or sit at home, have a nice breakfast, and read the paper? What will I ‘get out of going to Mass?’ ” Or, in a more critical sense, “The Church is out of date. The clergy is not gender egalitarian, no birth control allowed, LGBT people are marginalized, etc.” Yes, the Mass is objective truth, but in a society where morality and ethics are never assumed, an argument for the objective truth of the Catholic faith and Mass must begin by tackling “difficult confrontation[s] with liberal secular morals and mores” as you say [my bracketed addition]

      Also, a flat-out dismissal of the aforementioned objections of persons who are tangentially associated with Catholicism is not a way to open other’s eyes to what our faith has to offer. So many self anointed “orthodox” Catholics simply reject out of hand questions which are deemed “off-limits heterodox”. For example, it’s important to affirm the reality that women are often gifted teachers and leaders in Catholic communities, even if ordination is not a possibility now. Empathy is not a sin.

      assume arguendo that the reformed Mass is closer to the liturgies of the ancient Church. Why would it be easier to place late antique worship into a postmodern frame for discussion.

      The question of patristic ressourcement in the postconciliar liturgy versus an organic evolution model of the Tridentine recension is way, way down the list of discussion topics when evangelizing. It’s as if a person grappling with arithmetic is confronted with a person who is intent on describing multivariable calculus. Baby steps.

  43. Since I was the one quoted/cited, perhaps I should weigh in on the matter.

    I know a number of good Catholics, and even a few in schism, who worship via the older Missal and who would self-identify as “traditional/ist Catholics.” I also read their web sites on occasion.

    I do not see in their attempt to recover an authentic Catholicism a focus on evangelization. It wasn’t a focus before Vatican II. Catholics presented the Church, more or often less, to their neighbors on a take-it-or-leave-it basis. Take it and you’re saved. Leave it and you’re not.

    Many traditional-leaning Catholics have taken up the notion of a smaller, purer church, like they have any say in how Christ sows seeds.

    The sense I get is that they embrace the pre-conciliar approach, and generally (though not always) do not present the faith as something to draw in people from the non-Catholic world. If anything, if there is a deep distrust of unsympathetic Catholics, you can imagine the sense non-Catholics and non-believers get from traditionalists.

    Certainly, if an inquirer comes calling, the SSPX parish or Latin Mass congregation won’t turn them away. But there is no leadership or energy that I’ve seen from people I know or the web pages I visit to suggest that evangelization is at all an intentional approach.

    And if the traditionalists want to prove that wrong, I’m all for it. Show me. And best wishes for success.

    1. @Todd Flowerday – comment #8:
      Todd,
      I do not see in the NO parishes I’ve experienced “a focus on evangelization.” I have seen these parishes approach the faith with “no need to take it, not a problem if you leave it” attitude. No need to take it, you are OK right where you are; if you leave the Church, it’s OK as long as you find a good church for you.”
      These parishes “do to present the faith as something to draw in people from the non-Catholic world” because they see no need, no sense in doing so. To non-Catholics and non-believers get from these parishes the idea that there is nothing really different between becoming a Catholic and remaining, say, a Presbyterian.
      From these NO parishes I’ve seen, there is nothing to “suggest that evangelization is at all an intentional approach.”

      1. @Christopher Francis – comment #10:
        I have no reason to doubt your experience. I have also known many mainstream parishes that don’t bother with evangelization. It is their fatal flaw, perhaps. They have yet to implement Vatican II fully.

        But that hasn’t been the approach in my parish.

        With my comment I was addressing, however, the traditionalist community. I have yet to encounter a person or a web site with a “devotion,” let’s say, to Mark 16:15 or Matthew 28:19 in the same way they might have a devotion to, say, John 6. All the people I know who have an evangelical focus, including my pastor, and my three lay campus ministry colleagues on staff where I serve, are in mainstream parishes or campus ministries. And there are quite a number of us.

        Personally, I strive for what my pastor calls “affirmative orthodoxy,” a focus on the fruits and advantages of Roman Catholicism and a positive presentation of it to seekers, doubters, back-pew Catholics, and the community. We’re not perfect. But we do the best we can with how we are called to lead and live the Gospel.

        But honestly, I just don’t see that same effort expended. That’s simply an observation. But I’d love to be proven wrong. Show me a traditional priest who is instructing 30 converts. (I’m assuming there is no RCIA.)

  44. Unfortunately, today’s Catholic world talks like the Church only started after Vatican II, which by the way was only suppose to be a pastoral council. Nothing about Vatican II ranks at the infallible level! And majority rule does not matter in the Church. The majority can be practicing something and it still be wrong—for example birth control. So please remember that past Councils, Tradition and papal writings are not invalidated by Vatican II. Please consider that much of what has occurred since 1965 would have been considered HERESY before. Should this concern us. ABSOLUTELY because in reality we have a Catholic Church that bears very little likeness to the Church before 1965. Is almost 2000 years of the Holy Spirit leading us to be ignored in the wake of Vatican II???? I pray not!!

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