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Posted on 11/04/2004 9:21:48 AM PST by Mershon
Wednesday, November 03, 2004
Catholic Alternative History Thread
A reader writes:
You should proclaim a contest for a Catholic Science Fiction short story, scenario or story outline..
The theme: Vatican II never happens.
The exercise: start in 1959 and extrapolate forward from "actual" current events and trends in Church spirituality, governance and culture at that point in time and weave an altentate history of the Catholic Church, al la Henry Turtledove or Paoul Anderson.
Examples of Catholic alternate history "counterfactuals":
a. The Tridentine Latin Mass is preserved, but as a "dialogue Mass" ((congregational responses to the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar, etc) and the process of liturgical/cultural levelling up continues;, )
b. The biblical revival already underway in the 50's continues but, instead of being hijacked for liberation theology soundbites, it comes to serve to butress a Hebraic, neo-patriarchal, father-metaphor mindset which assures that every Seminary is a "gay-free" zone. Paul Shanley leaves the "hostile environment" of his seminary and opens a boutique.
c. The opposition to Communism under Pius X!! continues unabated into the reign of his successor (not Roncalli), without any detours into dialogue, and Solidarity gets off the ground in Poland 10 years earlier.
I am somewhat uncomfortable with this exercise because it essentially encourages to think we are smarter than the Holy Spirit. The fact is, the Spirit called the Council, so it was the best thing that could have happened and attempts by cranky conservatives to pretend otherwise, even in fun, strike me as toying with dissent. Personally, I think any "what if V2 never happened" scenario that doesn't end in catastrophe for the Church is bound to be false. I think that, had it not been for the Council, the cultural winds which hit the Church over the past 40 years would have made the Church *everywhere* into the crumpled Potemkin Village that, say, Quebec Catholicism turned out to be. The considerable vigor that the Church still retains is, despite the anti-V2 fulminations of Faithful Conservative Catholics[TM], largely due to the Council, I think.
Okay, let the screaming begin! posted by Mark Shea at 9:17 PM
Can you please ping all the traddies? Mark Shea is revealing his true colors. Of course, he knows by posting such stuff, it drives up his web traffic!!!
Would you please ping the traddies with this? I still can't figure out this posting thing and how to save people's names to "ping" them.
Why on earth would we preserve the Classical Catholic Mass in its "dialogue form"? That positively drives me insane.
Seriously, people, if you want to sing the parts that the choir is supposed to sing, join the choir. Otherwise, stop disturbing the contemplative nature of the traditional liturgy. I think that "I need to be heard" mindset is what started the ball rolling to a new understanding of "active participation".
I must add that the last paragraph is so laughable that I wouldn't even know where to start. "considerable vigor that the Church still retains . . ."? The Church has all the vigor of Martin Luther's decomposing corpse right now.
You have to love the positivism of the neo-cons. Perhaps if we all say the church has retained its vigor enough times, it will actually be true. . .
Quite a stretch to be sure.
At times, I'm tempted to think that not much separates conservative and traditional Catholics, then I read stuff like this and realize there are some very fundamental differences on pretty basic beliefs. The nature of Divine Assistance, for instance.
One major hole in his argument: Vatican II DID NOT mandate the change of the Mass to the Novus Ordo.
What a piece of work this character is. Take a look at the comments under "One more on the Alternative History business" and "I thought this could be a bad idea" in which he basically says that the Catholic Faith is whatever he claims it to be, and when called upon to support his outrageous claims, says that the burden of proof lies with anyone who disagrees.
There are conservatives...and then there are conservatives.
Compare Deal Hudson and Michael Rose. Both are "conservative Catholics."
This is completely and totally a matter of preference and I am in no mood today to discuss personal preferences. I'm glad you think it is so important.
Suffice to say that even SSPX Masses in the U.S. and in France--so-called "low" Masses--are not done the same way in every church. In France, they play the organ in the background throughout the entire low Mass. That would probably drive you crazy too.
The point is that Pius XII authorized the dialogue Mass. If you don't like it, wear earplugs and sit in the loft and follow along with your missal. Nobody makes you participate if you don't want.
The point here was to go to Mark Shea's weblog and show him his explanation of the protection of the Holy Spirit is wrong. That was the point of the thread.
How about going to his site and join in the "fraternal correction" that is taking place?
But it did mandate a massive change. The New Mass is the direct result of the process set in motion by Sacrosanctum Concilium. A preliminary version of the New Mass was already introduced in 1964 while Vatican II was only halfway over, and it certainly represents both "the spirit of Vatican II" and "the spirit of the New Mass." So the council fathers had plenty of time to complain if they thought that their program was being taken off track. A very few did complain, like Cardinal Heenan, the primate of England. The rest were only too eager to go along with the revolution, including such luminaries as Bishop Fulton Sheen in Rochester.
The "dialog Mass" predates Pius XII. Which only makes your point stronger, but I just wished to clarify. At least in concept it goes back to the major liturgical reforms of Pius X, and it certainly was already beginning to be implemented during the pontificate of Pius XI. It's true though, that it became much more ubiquitous during the reign of Pius XII.
This guy is a real piece of work. Really...
Thursday, November 04, 2004
One More, Then I'm Done for the Day
To everybody who is trying to figure out an orthodox way to say "Vatican 2 was a mistake and should never have happened":
Rather than me having to hop to it and step and fetch it to meet the insatiable demands of reactionary dissenters with more and ever more "proof from magisterial documents" for the faith of the Church that an Ecumenical Council is fundamentally the work of the Holy Spirit, how about you give me "magisterial proof" that the Church has ever denied that an ecumenical council is fundamentally the work of the Holy Spirit?
I already cited my documents. They were not, of course, good enough for the reactionary dissenters who seek loopholes and can always find them. However, the burden of proof is not on me. The burden of proof is on those who wish to argue that councils or papal elections they don't like are not the work of the Holy Spirit. Good luck showing that from the teaching of the Church.
Okay. Now I've got work to do.
posted by Mark Shea at 11:36 AM
One more on the Alternative History business
A reader more or less sums up several complaints when he writes:
Mr. Shea takes a true idea (the Holy Spirit protects the Church from requiring the laos to believe what is not true) and by filtering it through his ultramontism arrives at something that is not true (the situation of the Church after an infallible council is necessarily better than the previous situation).
I never said this. I said that, since an Ecumenical Council is first and foremost the work of the Holy Spirit (who is, after all, God and who knows what's best) we can safely say that the Council is the best thing that could have happened. This is not Panglossian. This is common sense. It does *not* follow from this that "the situation of the Church after an infallible council is necessarily better than the previous situation". One may, for instance, reasonably say that the situation after Nicaea was not "better" than before Nicaea. The Church slid into Arianism for the most part and finally the Empire was ruled by Julian, who said, "Forget the whole thing" and tried to reinstitute paganism. Was the situation of the Church "better" or worse?
Well, because of the teaching of the Council, the Church was equipped to deal better with a worsening situation--and weathered the storm. I more or less think this is going to be the long term effect of V2, once Catholics stop jabbering about the "Spirit of Vatican 2" and start paying attention to the teaching of Vatican 2. I am most emphatically not a Pangloss. It's just that I'm also not somebody who says an Ecumenical Council is not fundamentally the work of the Spirit when things don't go the way I think they should go.
posted by Mark Shea at 10:29 AM
Authentic ecumenical councils ratified by the Pope are guided by the Holy Spirit. That is why they are part of the magisterium. I suppose the Holy Spirit was not present at Nicaea, Chalcedon or Ephesus?
Authentic ecumenical councils ratified by the Pope are protected from doctrinal error by the Holy Spirit. That is why their dogmatic teachings are part of the magisterium.
Or was the Fourth Lateran's prudential decision that Jews must wear "distinctive dress" infallible for all ages?
See post No. 16. The Church does not teach the "inspiration" of the Holy Ghost covers every jot and tittle of every Conciliar document. It simply does not, and no Catholic is obligated as a Catholic to believe that.
It is a negative protection, not a positive one. "One will know a tree by its fruits."
The "fruits" of Vatican II are the growing traditional Latin Mass orders and communities. These had NOTHING to do (except for emboldening them) with the Holy Ghost. Nothing whatsoever...
These had NOTHING to do (except for emboldening them) with the Holy Ghost. Nothing whatsoever...
Should have read "NOTHING to do with Vatican II" NOT the Holy Ghost as I miswrote.
My understanding was that the traditionalists would simply argue that the Pope falsely discerned the calling of the Holy Spirit. Don't trads believe that the Holy Spirit leads the Church to convene *legitimate* ecumenical councils? Or does the church simply hold councils and approve whatever the Holy Spirit happens to be allowing at that moment? Or is the Holy Spirit only acting in the Pope when he decides to approve such councils?
I guess post 16 answers that the correct selection is the last. Makes sense.