Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Cardinal Brandmueller On A Few Topics

Cardinal Brandmueller is coming out with a new book on Church history. In this interview with Zenit, he had several interesting comments that deserve circulation:

ZENIT: Of what use today is this trip, through the centuries of the Church’s history?

Cardinal Brandmuller: I think that, in our times, this book might have little success. The interest of the majority today, also in directive environments of the Church, is orientated to the present, or better, to the future. “Yes – it is said – we must study ecclesiastical history,” but there aren’t many who consider the urgency of this discipline. Instead, there are so many who hold that it is “a dealer in antiquity,” that keeps curiosity, recounts edifying episodes, sometimes also scandalous and amusing ones but, all together, of little use to resolve the problems of today. Isn’t it true that many say this? This thought is symptomatic of those widely spread philosophical heresies, such as utilitarianism and pragmatism, which are truly destructive intellectual currents, especially when they invade theological thought and the pastoral approach.

We live in a bizarre world where people will attempt to paint history as God, while all the time loathing the events, contexts, and tradition of history.

ZENIT: Taking a step back and concentrating on the last 50 years since Vatican Council II, how can this crucial half century be described for the life of the Church? 

Cardinal Brandmuller: (Laughs) There are so many things to say … In the book there is a study of mine which focuses in particular on the post-conciliar conflicts of interpretation. Decades, certainly many [years] – too many – moved by problems that to a great extent still await a resolution.

ZENIT: Is it also the fault of the “Council of the Media,” of which Benedict XVI spoke?

Cardinal Brandmuller: Yes, also, but it isn’t a distinctive trait of the Vatican. During Vatican Council I the newspapers of the time also reported inexact news and played an important role.

While there is a similarity, I think the access of media and the phenomenon of higher speed transmission of disinformation makes Vatican II's events a whole new ball of wax. There can be no doubt that the press was a far greater factor in the 60s than in the 19th century. Moreover, I don't think it can be argued that the media continues to be heavily invested in keeping alive its version of Vatican II. When was the last time you heard a story on Vatican I?

ZENIT: What, then, is the cause of these distortions of the conciliar teachings? 

Cardinal Brandmuller: They are due, perhaps, to a false concept of what the Church is. If the Church defines herself as the mystical Christ present in history, a human-divine reality, a Council is certainly interpreted differently. An Ecumenical Council, such as Vatican II, is the implementation of the supreme Magisterium of the Church, whose documents are of decisive value for the Church. Many, instead, have always considered it, recounted it and interpreted it only as an historical, human, sociological, political reality and so on. 

Which Pope Francis has denounced with little publicity.

ZENIT: Are fifty years, therefore, not yet enough to understand and implement the conciliar teachings?  

Cardinal Brandmuller: No. Vatican Council II is still far from being realized in the life of the Church. It is still necessary to study the documents in a more profound way and then implement them.

This is so obvious that it shouldn't even need to be said. It is staggering that anyone can read the documents of Vatican II and their stated goals, along with the goals of the conciliar and post-conciliar popes, and actually believe that it has been "implemented." Or that if it has been "implemented" that it could be regarded as a success.

What is wrong with simply admitting that the Council was a failure? There's plenty of precedent for failed councils. Lateran V? Failure. Lyons II? Failure. Florence? Mostly a failure.

Vatican II? Failure? Why not?

No comments: