Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Pope Paul's Great Stand for the Blessed Mother

I've mentioned here before about how Pope Paul got rooked into a bunch of the Vatican II shenanigans out of naivete and a misguided desire for people to like him. However, even he had his limits on compromise.

For example, a previous post discussed Mysterium Fidei and how it completely ticked off the conciliar liberals. Robert McAfee Brown, a Protestant observer at the Council, tells it this way in his book The Ecumenical Revolution:

On the eve of the fourth session, he issued an encyclical on the Eucharist, Mysterium Fidei, that seemed to most interpreters to be at best a backward-looking document and at worst a repudiation of many of the creative insights of the already-promulgated constitution on the sacred liturgy.

Here we see a perfect example of conciliar ambiguity leading prominent someones to think that there had been some sort of doctrinal shift. Another such example occurred after the liberals had managed to squash a separate proposed document on the Blessed Mother. Discussion of her would instead be included as a chapter in Lumen Gentium, the constitution on the Church. As the discussion on the Blessed Mother became more heated, the topic was raised about her being regarded as Mother of the Church. Naturally, the liberals had kittens over the very thought of such a thing. The title was taken off the table as "inappropriate."

Apparently, Pope Paul had a very strong devotion to the Mother of God and would have nothing of this attempt to degrade her glorified status. In his closing speech of the third session, he remembered that he was the Vicar of Christ and declared Mary to be Mother of the Church on his own authority. The liberals hit the roof. Brown describes the scene:

It seemed for a while as though either the conservatives had gotten through to Paul, convinced him that the council was getting out of hand, and persuaded him to recapture control after the fashion of pre-Vatican II popes, or that Paul himself had reached a similar decision. The resulting gloom lasted many months, and there were those who, seeing this as a portent of things to come, predicted that the final session would end in disaster, with nineteenth century papalism regnant and collegiality a dead letter.

Of course, this did not happen. Brown credited the fact that "many Catholics (and non-Catholics as well) raised their voices in warning that this was not the way to move forward creatively. Seldom has there been such open and healthy criticism in the Catholic press as after session three."

Woopty-doo. So in the name of moving forward "creatively," Catholics were willing to jeopardize the Faith.

Paul VI made several other timely interventions in the Council's proceedings, ranging from the corrective note preserving Lumen Gentium from heresy to multiple revisions to Unitatis Redintegratio to recognizing "Mediatrix" as a proper title for the Blessed Mother. These would ultimately prove insufficient to stop the post-conciliar pandemonium and the treachery of the liberals in the Vatican II aftermath. Things would be bad for the next few years. In July of 1968, though, all hell would break loose.

No comments: