Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Spirit Of Vatican II Is A Demon That Must Be Exorcised

There's something you might not have expected to hear today. Or any other day. From anybody. Bishop Nickless didn't mind saying it, though. We've mentioned him before here. This new bit is from a pastoral letter unleashed about a week ago and reported on by the National Catholic Register.

Forty-four years after the close of the council, Bishop Nickless says there are many questions that still need to be asked and answered.“Have we understood the council within the context of the entire history of the Church? Have we understood the documents well? Have we truly appropriated and implemented them? Is the current state of the Church what the council intended? What went right? What went wrong? Where is the promised “New Pentecost”?

This last question is very significant, I think. We've been hearing about "New Pentecost," "New Springtime," "reaping abundant fruits," and so forth for about thirty years now. In contrast to what we were hearing, we saw folks defecting from the Church in huge numbers, the legitimization of dissent, rampant liturgical abuse, and a whole lot of other bad things.

Quoting from Pope Benedict XVI’s address to the Roman Curia in December 2005, Bishop Nickless draws attention to the two contrary hermeneutics that arose from the council — one which caused confusion (“a hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture”), and the other which has borne fruit (“hermeneutic of reform”). . .

The consequence, says Bishop Nickless, has been a sort of dualism — “an either/or mentality and insistence in various areas of the Church’s life: either fidelity to doctrine or social justice work, either Latin or English, either personal conscience or the authority of the Church, either chant or contemporary music, either tradition or progress, either liturgy or popular piety, either conservative or liberal, either Mass or adoration, either the magisterium or theologians, either ecumenism or evangelization, either rubrics or personalization, either the Baltimore Catechism or ‘experience’ ...”

Pretty big consequences from a pastoral Council that declared no new dogmas.

“There can be no split, however, between the Church and her faith before and after the council,” writes Bishop Nickless. “We must stop speaking of the ‘Pre-Vatican II’ and ‘Post-Vatican II’ Church, and stop seeing various characteristics of the Church as ‘pre’ and ‘post’ Vatican II. Only the ‘hermeneutic of reform,’ he says, is valid and “has borne and is bearing fruit.”

“The ‘spirit of Vatican II’ must be found only in the letter of the documents themselves,” writes Bishop Nickless. “The so-called ‘spirit’ of the council … is a ghost or demon that must be exorcised if we are to proceed with the Lord’s work.”

This is all good stuff. We've seen the "spirit" divorced from the "letter" plenty of times. Fr. O'Malley's gushing about having a "Vatican II president," for example. Great care should be taken, though, to avoid the trap posed by the texts themselves. Sticking with the hermeneutic of continuity is great, but the texts must be taken with that in mind and not be the starting point. Fr. Schillebeecx wasn't joking when he said that the documents were written to be re-interpreted later. They enable the "spirit" of discontinuity if this is forgotten.

What's even better is His Excellency's recommendation to all Catholics:

“In order to strengthen our devotion to Christ in the holy Eucharist and worship God rightly, we need to renounce any attachment to how we worship currently. To improve the spiritual depth of how we perform the Church’s liturgy, we will need to renounce attachment to worldly expectations and long-standing habits. To spend more time adoring Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, we need to renounce attachments to how we currently use our time,” he writes. “To deepen our intimate love for God in our hearts and heads, we need to renounce attachments to whatever is not God that is filling our hearts and heads. To live in more intentional and holy Catholic families, we need to renounce attachment to distractions, sins, and imperfections that harm our domestic churches. To accept the divine plan god has for each of us, we need to renounce attachment to our own plans. To change the world for Christ, we need to renounce attachment to how we want the world to be for ourselves.”

This is a hard saying for a lot of folks. In a nutshell, it isn't about you. It's about God. What you want in a liturgy is irrelevant. How you think the Church should worship really doesn't matter. There is a God. You aren't Him.

Here's the whole letter. Enjoy.

1 comment:

Bridgetta said...

Vatican II said this in it's Constitution Dei Verbum:
"Consequently it is not from Sacred Scripture alone that the Church draws her certainty about everything which has been revealed. Therefore both sacred tradition and Sacred Scripture are to be accepted and venerated with the same sense of loyalty and reverence."

Vatican II showed that traditions should be kept with loyalty! Oh yah!