Wednesday, November 7, 2007


A number of years ago a bishop came to this diocese to give an opening address at a gathering about Vatican II. The main thrust of his talk was that individuals had to stop promoting what they wanted or thought Vatican II said and start implementing what it actually said. Sad to say that most of the people who came to the gathering tended to be people who were more interested in the “spirit” of Vatican II than Vatican II itself and the anger in the air was palpable. This is perhaps why when Vatican II is properly implemented a great hue and cry goes out in certain circles that “they” are trying to push us back to a pre-Vatican II Church when in actuality “they” are merely adhering to what Vatican II actually said.

In all actuality I am glad we went through the “spirit” aspect of Vatican II. No longer do we have to sit around and wonder if such changes would do us good or harm. We can say, “We tried that and it (did/didn’t) work.”

Today I find that the younger ranks of Catholics care less and less about Vatican II as a rallying point. Not that they do not see it as important, but that it is not the lightening rod it once was. The questions today among serious, practicing Catholics evolve much more around that which is orthodox and that which is not. With this the documents of Vatican II can be appreciated in a whole different light and with much clearer eyes.
As the documents are studies and understood within the context of the greater body of teaching within the Church, it is more and more difficult to justify some of the outlandish practices that have popped up over the past few decades. Wreckovations supposedly mandated by the spirit of Vatican II now give way to restorations. Experimental liturgies give way to praying with the mind of the Church. Manipulations involving secret knowledge of actual intentions of the Council give way to “show me.” The time now is to pay attention to the man behind the curtain. Vatican II is passing out of its awkward youthful stages toward maturity and even more beautiful things should start to blossom if we let it.


Anonymous said...

Charitable and insightful as always. Sometimes my blood pressure tells me its better to be belligerent and correct. Your attitude is much more productive. Makes it easier to get out of bed in the morning too.

Adoro te Devote said...

Great post. And as I am in the midst of a Vatican II paper specificially with regard to the "Spirit of Vatican II" and how it is manifested in Sacrosanctum Concilium, well, let me say this:

What most people call the "spirit" is not the spirit. They mean something different altogether. The true "Spirit" is summarized in the first paragraph of Sacrosanctum Concilum, and can be summed up clearly as a Renewal, Enrichment, reinforcing the call to Holiness, all of which leads to the Mission to bring Christ to the world.

What the "spirit of V2" people don't realize is that the documents draw on history and theological definitions, also corrected errors of things that were happening. And they also recognized a certain stagnancy about the Church in her inability to deal with the rapidly-changing world. They recognized that the laity had compartmentalized their faith and had deep questions about the issues confronting them in society...and so the Synod sought to answer those questions by drawing upon the riches and guidance that had ALWAYS been available to us all. And through this, it was to empower the laity not to "take control of the parish" (as some seem to think) but rather, to recognize our identity of prophet, priest, and king and carry out the very same mission as in the 1st Century AD. Jesus Christ isn't in a box in some corner (well, he is in some places! And that's still his TRUE PRESENCE) But he's also within us as we are temples of the Holy Spirit, and through the liturgy we are inflamed, we are united, and we are sent to bring Christ into the world....and bring the world to Christ.

And that's all I have to say about that.

For now...

Adoro te Devote said...

And just some clarification....I realized I blurred a line...the "they" of the "spirit of V2" people morphed not very clearly into the "they" being the participants of the Vatican Council.

And the Jesus in a box...indeed He Himself is present in the tabernacle everywhere....just some places have thrown him into a dark corner and created a lateral theology that is all about "us", making the actual presence of Jesus unimportant. All thanks to the "spirit of V2" crowd.

Now...if we could actually get people to understand what the "Spirit of Vatican II" really means!

Anonymous said...

I have a very Tradtion-al friend (/enemy/friend/enemy/brother-in-Christ/fellow disciple) who made up his mind about V II while JP II was still with us: that it was after all, above all, a very valid and needed Council-- and that it had indeed been hijacked by liberals and agenda-ists, etc.

Now that JP II (and our closer contact with Stanislaw Cardinal! Dziwisz, now) is gone, however, he is reverting back to more anti-Conciliar views. Just one MORE thing that ticks me off. :-|

At any rate, I about died laughing at the skull-and-crossbones sign within this post. Too true, but maybe it's all changing, as you say. I sincerely hope so.

frival said...

Well said, Father. I can particularly share in your point regarding those who care less and less about Vatican II as a rallying point. I consider Vatican II critical to understanding the Church today, but I've come to realize that Vatican II is utterly undecipherable without understanding the greater context of previous Councils and the issues in play at the time.

Trying to interpret the Council without context is something akin to reading the Gospels without understanding the historical context of first-century Israel. At best you'll get bits and pieces, but more likely than not you're going to totally misread everything and wind up confused or disinterested. Just as the Bible cannot be properly read outside the context of the Church, so must the Councils be read within the whole context and history of the Church. IMO, of course.

Adoro te Devote said...

Frival ~ you said:

"Just as the Bible cannot be properly read outside the context of the Church, so must the Councils be read within the whole context and history of the Church. IMO, of course."

EXACTLY! Not just your opinion, but this is reality and you nailed it!

Have you noticed that John Paul II preached this over and over again? His entire pontificate was about trying to properly institute Vatican II, and he was largely ignored by a great number of people. No surprise; no prophet is accepted in his own time and place.

He said over and over again that the true "Spirit" is found IN THE TEXT ITSELF, not in some disconnectd ideas floating around.

The documents are to be taken in the hermaneutic of continuity, which is what you have so concisely described. Thank you for that. :-)

Fr. V said...

Adoro - do you feel a post coming on?

Frival - Exactly!

Thanks Sparky

Justme - Very frustrating - How little he realizes that he is destroying (in the realm of ideas) the very thing he thinks he loves. I feel another post coming on.

Adrienne said...

My experience has been the people that yap the most about the "Spirit" of Vatican II, have never read the documents.

S.J. Fuhry said...

Adrienne said...
"My experience has been the people that yap the most about the "Spirit" of Vatican II, have never read the documents."

Haha, good point. True story (a couple weeks ago):

An old priest was publicly criticizing B16th's "Jesus of Nazareth." A young priest objected, recalling something he wrote in the introduction of the book. Old priest admits all he read was half of the first chapter.