Friday, July 8, 2011

Vatican Council II: A Much Needed Discussion

As I continue my recovery, I was finally able to read this. It's an excellent work written by Msgr. Brunero Gherardini, a Canon of St. Peter's Basilica. The foreword is by Cardinal Ranjith. I mention these things so that folks don't jump to the usual conclusion that such works are the domain of schismatics or some other variety of whack-job.

Anyways, it's good stuff. Granted, it's dense at times, but I think a lot of that might have more to do with the translation than anything else. Essentially, Msgr. Gherardini is calling for a thorough analysis of the 16 conciliar documents (overkill, IMO) in order to properly establish them in the hermeneutic of continuity demanded by the Holy Father. This is all very reasonable, and as the Msgr. demonstrates, something that has been frustrated for decades by folks who are too busy trying to claim that VII said everything there was to be said and did so in a fashion so awesome that anyone denying it would have to be insane. He makes some points that were new for me and that I'll have to think about quite a bit, especially re: Dei Verbum and Lumen Gentium.

The tone is one that I think most here would appreciate. We're not talking about some kind of hyper-polemical screed here. The book is written with a lot of humility, which is especially needed given the topic. He skips over the procedural abnormalities and the hijackings that took place at VII and sticks almost exclusively to textual analysis. This reduces the potential for people to ignore his arguments as some kind of exaggeration. Granted, he does mention the theologians who made it their business to "re-interpret" the Council (Kung, Schillebeecx, Rahner, etc.) but he does so without ad hominem.

In the final analysis, Msgr. Gherardini asks the simple questions that have been answered many times, without anyone paying attention to the answer. What was VII and what was its measure of authority in light of prior Church teachings? This is all well and good, but he doesn't move past that and acknowledge that answering these questions means an exercise of authority. Until those denying the answers are made to pay attention and accept them, they will refuse to do so.

Check it out. It's worth your time. Also, if you own a Nook, the biography of St. Thomas More written by his son-in-law William Roper is free. It closes with letters between Thomas and his daughter Margaret. Wonderful stuff.

1 comment:

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