Sunday, 10 January 2010

Standing Up For What Vatican II Actually Said...

Yesterday's examination of the Stand Up for Vatican II website was quite an exhausting task. It is one of the clumsiest websites to navigate that I have encountered... nevertheless, in view of what they're trying to stir up, I settled down this evening for another session. It's a long one. Sorry.

One of my commenters pointed out that, on the surface, there was nothing objectionable in the petition being proposed. After all, Vatican II is one of the Councils of the Church, and, as such, its documents are part of the Magisterium. I will say once again that I have no problem with Vatican II: as I mentioned in my last post, what I have a problem with is people deciding what Vatican II said, (the "spirit" of Vatican II) while ignoring what it actually did say, and dismissing everything that happened in the Church before the Council.

Mgr. Marini, in his address to the recent Clergy Conference in Rome, pointed out:

" times it seems that some individuals are truly partisan to a way of thinking that is justly and properly defined as an ideology, or rather a preconceived notion applied to the history of the Church which has nothing to do with the true faith. An example of the fruit produced by that misleading ideology is the recurrent distinction between the pre-Conciliar and the post-Conciliar Church.

Such a manner of speaking can be legitimate, but only on condition that two Churches are not understood by it: one, the pre-Conciliar Church, that has nothing more to say or to give because it has been surpassed, and a second, the post-Conciliar church, a new reality born from the Council and, by its presumed spirit, not in continuity with its past. This manner of speaking and more so of thinking must not be our own. Apart from being incorrect, it is already superseded and outdated..."

So, Vatican II does not herald a break from the pre-Conciliar Church, but must be considered in the light of the Church's Tradition.

The primacy of conscience was the example I considered yesterday. Today, I want to examine what Vatican II said about papal infallibility and collegiality.

Collegiality of the Bishops is lauded by groups such as Stand Up for Vatican II as a fruit of the Council. However, Lumen Gentium, the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church produced at the Council states quite clearly:

"... But the college or body of bishops has no authority unless it is understood together with the Roman Pontiff, the successor of Peter as its head. The pope's power of primacy over all, both pastors and faithful, remains whole and intact. In virtue of his office, that is as Vicar of Christ and pastor of the whole Church, the Roman Pontiff has full, supreme and universal power over the Church. And he is always free to exercise this power. The order of bishops, which succeeds to the college of apostles and gives this apostolic body continued existence, is also the subject of supreme and full power over the universal Church, provided we understand this body together with its head the Roman Pontiff and never without this head." (LG n.22)

"... And this is the infallibility which the Roman Pontiff, the head of the college of bishops, enjoys in virtue of his office, when, as the supreme shepherd and teacher of all the faithful, who confirms his brethren in their faith, by a definitive act he proclaims a doctrine of faith or morals. And therefore his definitions, of themselves, and not from the consent of the Church, are justly styled irreformable, since they are pronounced with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, promised to him in blessed Peter, and therefore they need no approval of others, nor do they allow an appeal to any other judgment. For then the Roman Pontiff is not pronouncing judgment as a private person, but as the supreme teacher of the universal Church, in whom the charism of infallibility of the Church itself is individually present, he is expounding or defending a doctrine of Catholic faith." (LG n. 25)

Let's just spell it out here, for those who are having a little difficulty: Lumen Gentium was one of the documents arising from Vatican II. There is nothing in this document that I have any problems accepting. It's what I've said all along: if the Pope says it's so, then there's no argument. I may not like it, I may not understand it, but if he said it, that's an end to it.

"The laity should, as all Christians, promptly accept in Christian obedience decisions of their spiritual shepherds, since they are representatives of Christ as well as teachers and rulers in the Church." (LG n. 37)

"Bishops, teaching in communion with the Roman Pontiff, are to be respected by all as witnesses to divine and Catholic truth. In matters of faith and morals, the bishops speak in the name of Christ and the faithful are to accept their teaching and adhere to it with a religious assent. This religious submission of mind and will must be shown in a special way to the authentic magisterium of the Roman Pontiff, even when he is not speaking ex cathedra; that is, it must be shown in such a way that his supreme magisterium is acknowledged with reverence, the judgments made by him are sincerely adhered to, according to his manifest mind and will. His mind and will in the matter may be known either from the character of the documents, from his frequent repetition of the same doctrine, or from his manner of speaking." (LG n. 25)

The links section of the Stand Up for Vatican II website makes for very interesting reading. Four "Reform Groups" are mentioned and given links.

1) Catholics for a Changing Church - this group began in 1968 as a protest movement against the encyclical of Pope Paul VI, Humanae vitae.

Oh dear. Seems they don't actually believe in the stuff from Vatican II after all. They're certainly not interested in adhering to the judgements made by Pope Paul VI, John Paul II and Benedict XVI on this matter. Mind you, that was just how the group started... perhaps they've changed...

"Latterly through its [CCC's] periodical, Renew, it has looked at the future form of the Christian faith. We feel that if we don’t like what is on offer, it is incumbent on us to advance our own ideas for wider discussion."

Ooops. So much for the Christian obedience called for by Vatican II. This group has Bernard Wynne as its Chairman... he's the chap who complained to The Suppository about Fr. Tim's implementation of Summorum Pontificum in the parish of Blackfen, claiming that it was causing divisions. Obviously, "working in the light of Vatican II" as proposed by this group, namely open dissent from the Magisterium of the Church, isn't going to cause division... because heresy and schism are just so cuddly and inclusive...

2) The Advent Group (UK) - this group wants to reform the Priesthood, and to work for change in the Church and its ministry; they particularly aim to help priests and religious who have left active ministry.

Interestingly, the group celebrated its 40th anniversary of inauguration in 2009... which means that all these priests and religious have felt the need to leave active ministry because of the oppressive pre-Conciliar Church. Oh, no, sorry. My mistake. The group started five years after the end of the Council... *ahem* must be something to do with those windows of the Church which were opened to allow the Spirit to blow in...

In one of their news bulletins, this group actually criticised a Bishop because he didn't stop a priest who had fathered a child continuing in his ministry. It was, apparently, the Bishop who forced the priest to live a lie. Right. Because married men who father children through having affairs immediately leave their first wife and family to take up their responsibilities and not live a lie... And isn't the priest married to the Church? Or is that some dreadful pre-Conciliar idea which was ditched by Vatican II?

And, by the by, how loud would the screams have been if the Bishop had ordered him to leave the priesthood, do you think?

3) We Are Church (UK) - This lot campaign for women's "rights." Actually, what they mean is that they want women to be ordained priests. In their section on Women and the Catholic Church, they quote Angelika Fromm from We Are Church (Germany) - she says:

"The mere talking of "woman's dignity" is no longer sufficient, whilst treating women in the same church as [if] they were incapable of ordination."

*ahem* We are incapable of ordination. There's no "as if" about it. I don't have a problem with that. Similarly, I don't have a problem with the idea that men are incapable of pregnancy and childbirth. I don't think men are inferior just because they can't be mothers. Why should the statement that women can't be priests imply that the Church considers them inferior to men?

Angelika Fromm has spoken at CWO events... that's Catholic Women's Ordination. On their news and events section, they went to Rome, where...

"the speakers challenged the Papal ban on discussion of the issue, reminded listeners that in 1976, Catholic theologians had found no scriptural objections against women’s ordination, and linked the issue to Jesus’ gospel message of liberation and justice and worldwide issues of women’s poverty and oppression."

They advertise the Stand Up for Vatican II event...

... though, it seems that they also missed the bit in Lumen Gentium (that pesky Vatican II document again) which requires submission of mind and will to the judgements of the Roman Pontiff, even if they are only made clear by his manner of speaking. However, Pope John Paul II didn't just say it. He wrote it. Thus we read, in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis:

"Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church's divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32) I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church's faithful." (n. 4)

It might just be possible to get a clearer statement than that, but it's hard to see how.

4) European Network Church on the Move - this claims to be

"a spontaneous convergence of organizations – associations, communities, informal groups and networks – of European Christians who are in majority Catholic, sharing
(1) the vision of a Church prophetic, ecumenical, liberating, supporting, loving, which neither excludes nor discriminates and which follows on the steps of Jesus the liberator, and
(2) the will to work, respecting cultural and religious diversity, for peace, justice, freedom, human rights and democracy, including in the Catholic Church"

However, as its News section seems to link to stories concerning We Are Church and the European Federation of Married Catholic Priests, I think we can guess that these chaps are not going to have spotted the papal infallibility and submission of mind and will sections of Lumen Gentium either. Feel free to correct me if I'm jumping to conclusions.

In conclusion, I think that "Stand Up for Vatican II" as a slogan for this sad bunch - who can't (or won't) see that their vision of a Church made in their own image is an illusion - constitutes an offence under the Trades Description Act...


Seraphic said...

Yes, it is very sad and intellectually dishonest. Invoking Vatican II as pretend back-up for one's own pet innovations and theories should be completely discredited by now. Any invocation of the Council in this way should be countered with a request for document and verse.

Idle Rambler said...

Thanks for doing all the hard work for the rest of us, in researching it fully. You have confirmed my intitial impressions when I actually received an invitation to sign the petition.

Michelle Therese said...

And why do these kinds of people bother to remain Catholic?? They should go join a Protest-ant church. Or become New Agers.

Seraphic said...

Because for many 1.) "Catholic" is essential to their ethnic identity, 2) despite everything, they believe that only in the Church is salvation.

Catholic as Ethnic: It either goes with being "Irish" or "Italian" (e.g. the descendent of Irish or Italian immigrants to the USA, Canada, Australia or the UK) or it is something--sometimes the only thing--that sets them apart from the despised majority WASPs.

(For Germans and Austrians, radical change to the Church may be yet another attempt and remove oneself from any sense of guilt inherited from the stain of 1933-1945.)

Of course, it is one more way to conform. Acceptance by all--popularity, the chance to be invited to the Most Important Garden Parties in the World--has become an idol, particularly by uneasy American Catholics haunted by the fact that they used to be barred from country clubs.

Finally, those confused by popular modernist theologies and spiritualities still intuitively know that it is very important that, no matter what, they must not leave the Church of their baptism. Deep down, they hear a voice saying that outside the Church there is no salvation, and so they very rightly (if annoyingly for others) hang on despite everything.

Unknown said...

Have you seen this

Dilly said...

Interestingly, the address by Mgr Marini, on NLM, linked to from Fr Finigan's post carefully distances the liturgical abuses post-V2 from the Council. It is a very, very interesting well crafted signal. My readng is "V2 set out to do the right thing - but wasn't always properly interpreted or fulfilled".

Et Expecto said...

Just a thaught.

Remembering that The Tablet initiated the fundraising for Fr Tim's new vestments, do you think this new group could do the same for Blackfen's new basilica?

Zephyrinus said...

This is an excellent Post. Thank you for the hours of research. I certainly agree that this sad bunch's interpretation of their slogan constitutes an offence under the Trads Description Act.

Zephyrinus said...

Et Expecto. Seconded.

Dominic Mary said...

Looking at the Petition, I think I could approve of the second paragraph . . . 'We ask them [the Bishops] to re-commit themselves to the teachings of the Council and to implement programmes for the further renewal of our Church in line with the Decrees promulgated by the Council.'

So that means Latin as the normative language of the Mass, Chant as the normative music . . .

Sarah said...

As you know, we do have the same problem in Germany. I would like to put a link on my blog.

Mulier Fortis said...

Sarah - please do!

Hippolytus said...

Good analysis. This address may be of interest.

Cathy_of_Alex said...

Mac: Thanks for this set of posts!

Elizabeth said...

"The laity should, as all Christians, promptly accept in Christian obedience decisions of their spiritual shepherds, since they are representatives of Christ as well as teachers and rulers in the Church." (LG n. 37)

The above says it all, why have the laity decided they have more rights than the clergy in deciding how our Faith should be presented.
I am happy to remain a sheep with a good shepherd to lead me. After all it is 'the shepherd' who spent years in seminary not me.

Elizabeth said...

Bernard Wynne is definately a wolf in sheeps clothing. Causing all those problems at the Blackfen Parish while all along his agenda was not the removal of the Latin Mass but a complete revamp of the teachings of the Catholic Church.

A Dissenter from the Magisterium of the Church.

Or as you put it so prettily Mac
'heresy and schism are just so cuddly and inclusive...' are we to believe he was arguing for the good of his fellow parishioners?

I do hope that his supporters at the parish are reading your blog and have finally had their eyes opened to the hidden agenda of this man.

Holy Michael the Archangel come to Blackfen and cast out the evil spirits seeking the ruin of souls.

Zephyrinus said...

Elizabeth. Excellent comment. I agree totally with your assessment. Holy Michael the Archangel, defend us in the day of battle. . . Amen.

Adulio said...

Hear hear Elizabeth!

Patricia Phillips said...

The 'Stand up for Vatican II' meeting was actually spawned by the dissident group 'Catholics for a Changing Church'. See my article about this group
_bonus.html Also, note that on the 'Stand Up' on-line petition, quite a lot of names associated with the 'gay' Masses at Warwick Street have signed up.

Mulier Fortis said...

Yes, Patricia, I pointed out that CCC were involved - but thanks for the link.

Patricia Phillips said...

Sorry Mac, also another good blog which has details of CCC and other active dissenting groups is Catholic Action UK. Further details of CCC here:-
Know thine enemy, folks!

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Mac, that was brilliant analysis.

I've linked from my blog as your comments are a really useful addition to my 'State of the Church in the West' exploration.

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