07 February 2010

Why SU4V2 Might Win

You'd think that a bunch of self-confessed wrinklies with heretical attitudes would be bound to fail, wouldn't you. This is what the Chair of the meeting has written as part of a discussion:

"The meeting looked and felt like an inclusive church. There were religious and priests, women with priestly vocations, gays, justice and peace activists, Catholic women activists and, most importantly, laity from the pews. Without rancour, without bitterness, without polemics, with wry humour, with committment to and love for their church, they spoke up about the way parishes are run by one man only; about the lack of adult formation in the faith; about the infantilisation of the laity, and about how that and other aspects of current catholic 'churchianity' affect the Church's apostolic mission to the world. "

It's not hard to deconstruct, especially as religious, priests, women with priestly vocations, gays, justice and peace activists and women activists are contrasted with laity from the pews. Their Church is divided into the "doing" class and the "done to" class, and from this point of view, their checklist of beliefs and aims becomes coherent.

Barking! Howling! Let's have a good laugh at them and then carry on regardless. Well, we can, but if we do, they'll win. "We" here means JPII and B16 Catholics: not Vatican I, but not Vatican III either. We are indefinable as a group, other than by some statement such as "Orthodox Catholic". (There's no such thing as "just Catholic" unless you want to pretend that the FSSP and SU4V2 are the same thing.) We are actually a vey loose coalition of separate groups.

What shall we call them? Inspired as they are by the spirit of Vatican II, can I call them Spiritualists? I doesn't matter: they have many names, many guises, but they are united. Disunited, they will perish, so they will stay united, for as long as they are allowed to do so.

They control the levers: the diocesan curias, Catholic education, Catholic charities, everything to do with the Bishops' Conference; they control the Catholic press, with the exception of the Herald (but they infest the Herald's letters page). All of this apparatus is aimed at furthering their spiritualist agenda; none of it is aimed at furthering the Pope's.

The only way that "orthodox Catholics" are going to win is if we can persuade our Bishops to take the lead and live and breathe the Pope's agenda and inspire us with it.


The Raven said...

I have often felt myself deeply frustrated by the attitude of many people that identify themselves as "orthodox" Catholics, who say that our only legitimate form of resistance to these people is to pray.

I disagree. I think that we ought to be starting a counter-attack by getting more involved with the life of our parishes, by subverting the agenda of the "spiritualists", by not leaving our priests in alone to face these people, by making sure that our parish councils are not only staffed by the debris of V2/1960s.

It is in vain to ask God to rebuild the Church when he has given us hands that we may do so.

Fr Ray Blake said...

And we now have the lever of those words of the Pope himself to the Bishops:

It is important to recognize dissent for what it is, and not to mistake it for a mature contribution to a balanced and wide-ranging debate.

Londiniensis said...
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Londiniensis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Londiniensis said...

The SSPX and SU4V2 are not the same thing, but they do have one very important feature in common: they both hold that the Second Vatican Council created something new and different, that a definite caesura had come down after over 1,900 years of the Church's history and development, that a definite way of thinking and doing things had come to an end. Call it what you will: hermeneutic of rupture, Bologna School, Spirit of Vatican II, it's the same.

The Second Vatican Council coincided with the 60's when the world went through one of its periodic lunatic fits; with the ubiquity of artificial contraception, which drove a frenzied “sexual revolution” and concomitant re-shaping of public morality; with the triumph of a Marxist worldview among Western academic elites and the resulting corruption of the young; with an overall breakdown of respect for authority and the rise of a “rights culture” that re-drew the social contract; with the realpolitik accommodations of the Cold War; and also with the aridity of Thomism as it was taught, coupled with real problems with the "Grace/Nature" issue and with the exciting flowering of new approaches to theology, some of which went seriously off the rails.

No wonder that local hierarchies – no primates any more laying down the law, but bureaucratic “Conferences” – took opportunistic paths that conformed with the zeitgeist and with the noisy trumpetings of those who were proclaiming the Spirit of Vatican II. Two currents which were laying waste to Protestantism – demythologisation (Bultmann) and death of God theology (van Buren et al) – wormed their way, if not into the discourse of Catholics, into their subconscious. The old and wise abdicated individual conviction to ideas which they didn’t particularly like, but which they thought were the will of the Church. The young and foolish (and some not so young) didn’t know that their ideas came not from the Gospels and the Fathers but from Mill, Rousseau and Marx. And we must remember too that there was abroad a genuine spirit within the Church of “Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive, But to be young was very heaven!”

We must be grateful to Pope John Paul the Great for, with the help of God’s Grace, providing an Ark, an Ararat, against which the tempests did not prevail, and for over a quarter of a century keeping the Church on course, for reclaiming the great mass of uncatechised nominal Catholics back into the Church and, perhaps with less success, shepherding his unruly pastors. For 24 of those years his Prefect at the CDF, ally and friend was the current Holy Father, who can now sow on the ground prepared by his predecessor.

There is a new spirit afoot in the Church. Rahner, Küng and Schillebeeckx have given way to Congar, de Lubac and von Balthasar. Liberation theology has become a sideshow. Thomism has been rehabilitated. The theoretical underpinnings of the “horizontal” Mass and versus populum worship have been totally discredited by the latest scholarship. There is no coherent anthropology underpinning current public morality: no coherent arguments for overturning Natural Law, only slogans. Spirituality is returning to “ordinary from” worship. In this sense, there is “climate change”.

I agree that there is still a struggle ahead. The sort of people that we want in the Secretariat of the Bishops’ Conference and on the boards of the Tablet or the CES are not sort of people who will intrigue and dissemble, the way the radicals who got their schooling in the 60s/70s did (and do) with brilliance. But even if we could, should we use their tactics? No. Here The Raven is exactly right. Reclaim the parish committees, the choirs, the various "ministries" - exercise the true lay apostolate.

SU4V2 are an irrelevance. Although their sympathisers still control the apparat, the CCC crowd see that the wind has changed and they are afraid, otherwise they wouldn’t be holding these meetings. There is hope. There is light at the end of the tunnel, and it definitely isn’t an oncoming train.

Mike Cliffson Pamelez said...

"The so-called “spirit” of the Council has no authoritative interpretation. It is a ghost or demon that must be exorcised"
From:Ecclesia Semper Reformanda
A Pastoral Letter on the Future of the Church in the
Diocese of Sioux City, Iowa
15 October 2009
Memorial of Saint Teresa of Jesus
Bishop Walker Nickless
The Angloshere aint entirely unshepherded.
Scattered thoughts:
Laity didn't oughter perform exorcisms
but can maybe bring such need to bishops' attention?
And pray?
Write where they write, organize where they organize, network where they network?
Scheme and conspire?
I suspect going that far is rather what the devil wants us to be doing.
Which isn't the same as saying: do nothing.
Do we ring up the council if a storm has washed a hole in the road leading to our suburb?
And write letters?
And not give up if said pothole remains unrepaired year in year out?
And we haven't the time to do the same if a storm has washed a hole, say, in the way the faith is "taught" in the local catholic school?
And keep it in perspective, eternal perspective : As a sinful man , I know that the imitation of christ, in his church, through the sacraments, in sheer undesesrved grace, for the salvation of my own soul and others, is my joyful job in life.
But as Spaniards say "la obligacion viene antes (comes before )de la devocion"
This doesn't mean "is more important than"- only that which is eternal is important.
For me for example
what I may have to do, first,with my time, at many a given moment
is wipe a bottom and change a nappy-
it hasn't much eternal perspective exactly.
But it is there, as an immediate worldly task of crying necessity.
To be done outof, with, and through love.
Which if this sinful prodigal son has spent his whack of, I know how and where to ask for more.
Our part in this "exorcism "is just nappy changing.

Anthony Bidgood said...

Congratulations to The Raven and Londoniniensis, who seemed to have a genuine grasp on what to do and not to lose heart. Father Blake's reminding us of the Pope's recent statement encapsulates how 'dissidents' should be regarded.

To the question of how to describe such people well heretics could be an apt description.

In Christo,