In Joshua McElwee’s excellent report over at NCR on the Dutch bishops’ time in Rome, we hear of a Dutch bishops reporting that Pope Francis told the Dutch bishops,
We have been implementing the council only half-way. Half of the work has still to be done.
What do you suppose Pope Francis thinks is the other half of Vatican II yet to be implemented??
- Is it giving primacy to Latin chant in the liturgy, and preserving the Latin language – to name two explicit directives in the liturgy constitution SC?
- Or is it greater inculturation, including liturgical diversity as advocated in SC?
- Is it giving greater emphasis to collegiality to counter-balance excessive centralism, as advocated in the liturgy constitution and especially Lumen gentium?
- Is it increased dialogue with the modern world from a standpoint of humble partnership, as set out in Gaudium et spes?
Or is it something else?
Initial indications are that it probably isn’t the first – I’m not expecting enrollment in my summer Gregorian chant courses to double or triple any time soon. The Council did say those things about Latin and chant, but these seem to me to be provisional practical directives rather than overarching principles such as, e.g., active participation, which is to be considered before all else in liturgical renewal. Francis seems to be a man of vernacular, at any rate.
I suspect that the “half of the work” yet to do in the Pope’s mind has much more to do with the Council’s teachings on inculturation, decentralized collegiality, and engagement with today’s world. The implications of this could be huge! It is difficult to see how a document like Liturgiam authenticam (the highly centralized, Rome-dominated translation document) would survive a thoroughgoing implementation of the Council’s teachings on inculturation, collegiality, and engagement with contemporary culture. (This makes me wonder how it will work, going forward, as Francis implements an agenda which is an implicit or explicit critique of his two immediate predecessors. “As the Church has always taught…” will only take us so far.)
What do you think? What is the other half of Vatican II Francis thinks we still need to implement?