Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Catholicism: Tradition & Dissent

In this excellent article from The Catholic Thing we are reminded about the truths of Vatican II, though I would disagree with the author that the ordinary form of the mass “became less beautiful” as a result.

The ordinary form of the mass—with the exception of the sign of peace which disturbs the contemplation congruent with the liturgy—can be very beautiful, as can the extraordinary form of the mass; it all depends on the priests (I attend both forms as I am able).

An excerpt from The Catholic Thing article.

“With apologies to Leo Tolstoy: All faithful Catholics are alike; every unfaithful Catholic is unfaithful in his own way. To be faithful is to give heart-and-soul assent to the Church; to popes, to Creed, and to Magisterium.

“A traditionalist argues that the Church has veered off course, as a ship would when captain and crew have abandoned their duties, and the traditionalist and his confreres see themselves engaged in a kind of first-class passengers’ mutiny. Meanwhile, down in steerage, restless liberationists – convinced the ship has gone full stop – are jettisoning everything they consider dead weight.

“Catholic” dissent is about course correction – it is anyway in the minds of the dissenters, right or left. And both agree the course we’re on was set by Vatican II. So: “Turn hard starboard!” say the traddies.“Tack hard to port!” say the libs. To them the Church some sort of yacht or cargo ship.

“Actually, the Church is an ark, floating in the flood. But enough of nautical analogies.

“Traditionalists would roll back the “reforms” of Vatican II and the liberationists would push on in the “spirit of” Vatican II. Both agree that recent popes have been misguided. On the far edges, you have sedevacantists and revolutionaries: the outright vertical and the downright horizontal. Both are deeply nostalgic – one for an ancien rĂ©gime, the other for a dream deferred.

“Nobody has better analyzed this discontent than our dear, late The Catholic Thing colleague Ralph McInerny. In What Went Wrong with Vatican II?, written thirty years after the Council ended, Professor McInerny made clear his opinion that the four Dogmatic Constitutions, three Declarations, and nine Decrees of the Second Vatican Council do not represent a break with Sacred Tradition. And he had a message for traditionalists: “That which makes Vatican II valid is what made Vatican I, the Council of Trent, and every other council valid. To accept one council is to accept them all; to reject one . . . is to reject . . . all; we cannot have pick-and-choose conciliarism.”…

“Neither John XXIII nor Paul VI, neither any subsequent popes nor Vatican II, are to blame for the “crisis” dissenters bewail. The Roman Catholic Church didn’t create the historical and cultural situation in which its teachings came to be considered out of step and which it tried to address at Vatican II. The Council itself officially changed very little – even including the reformed Mass, although the sacrament certainly became less beautiful (but Christ is there!). Still the Council became, alike for it-went-too-far Lefebvrites and it-didn’t-go-far-enough Liberation Theologians, an excuse to assume equality with papal and conciliar authority, to become shadow churches.”