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In church's dreams, Vatican II never happened
Chicago Sun-Times ^ | April 13, 2005 | ANDREW GREELEY

Posted on 04/15/2005 4:34:46 PM PDT by Grey Ghost II

In church's dreams, Vatican II never happened

April 13, 2005

BY ANDREW GREELEY

The American TV networks spent huge sums of money and sent scores of people to Rome last week. Characteristically, they spent little time or energy on research and hence provided weak and stereotypical journalism, limited to questions about married priests, female priests, gays and sexual abuse. They missed completely the most critical issue for the church in the 21st century -- Vatican Council II and the changes it created.

Many, if not most, of the cardinal electors would tell you that the council was an incident, a bump in the road. The council fathers wrote some useful documents. There was misguided enthusiasm after the council, but Pope John Paul II sternly reimposed order on the church. The council is interesting mainly now as a historical matter.

Leaders lost their nerve

They could not be more wrong. The council was a revolutionary event that had a profound impact on Catholics who lived through it and indirectly on their children, who have barely heard about it. It's still the green dragon lurking in the Sistine Chapel even if the electors can't quite see it.

The model of unchanging Catholicism in response to the Reformation, the Enlightenment and the French Revolution assumed that the church would not change, should not change, could not change. Suddenly the laity and lower clergy experienced changes in liturgy, in Scripture interpretation, in theories of religious liberty, in attitudes toward other Christians and Jews, in trust of the modern world. The structures -- patterns of behavior and supporting motivations -- that had supported the church for several centuries collapsed.

The council fathers may not have foreseen this collapse, but they did vote for the changes (in overwhelming numbers) and hence the documents themselves and the action of the fathers (presumably in Catholic theology guided by the Holy Spirit) were responsible for the destabilization.

It was, as it seemed then, a new spring for the church, now flexible, joyful and confidently open to the world. However, the ferment frightened some of the leaders who lost their nerve and responded the only way they knew how -- repression. They issued new orders without any serious attempt to explain the reasons for them. They silenced some theologians. They appointed reactionary bishops, who were not always the brightest or most humane. They investigated seminaries. Their mood changed from optimism to grim warnings and solemn denunciations. The church, for a few years a bright light on the mountaintop, had once again become an embattled fortress afraid of the modern world.

House of cards collapsed

The leaders confidently expected that the laity would do what they were told. They could not have been more wrong, nor their strategy more counterproductive. The laity and the lower clergy for the most part simply ignored them and went about creating new structures in which Catholics would affiliate with the church on their own terms. Resignations from the priesthood and the collapse of priestly vocations began only after the desperate attempts to slow down change turned the mood of the council years sour. The present crisis of the credibility of church leadership arose precisely from mistaken attempts to reassert the old leadership style. The problem is not so much the council as restorationist attempts to undo it.

To be fair, no one realized how potentially frail was the so-called confident church of 1950, both in America and around the world. A push from a handful of conciliar documents and the whole house of cards collapsed. For many leaders who had known the seeming serenity of the pre-conciliar church, it was unthinkable that the structures had disappeared overnight and with them their own credibility. So they fell back on them to prevent a disappearance that had already occurred.

The restorationist style continues here in Rome, though it should be clear that it doesn't work. Despite the late pope's efforts to reassert the church's traditional sexual ethic, acceptance of it has declined everywhere.

Few willing to admit truth

In the pre-conclave atmosphere, it is necessary to pretend that this is not true. Or if there is a bit of truth in it, the proper response of the new pope should be yet tougher repression, more vigorous restoration. Almost no one is willing to admit even to themselves that the leadership strategy since 1970 has caused most of the problems in the church -- the decline of vocations and church attendance and the alienation of the young.

Vatican II is the dragon in their midst that they cannot see and they wish would go away. Unfortunately they have not, will not learn that you cannot repeal an ecumenical council and cancel its effects.


TOPICS: Catholic
KEYWORDS: andrewgreeley; conclave; newpope; vaticanii
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1 posted on 04/15/2005 4:34:46 PM PDT by Grey Ghost II
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To: Robert Drobot; rogator; royalcello; Scupoli; Slyfox; Snuffington; Solson; sontaran_army; ...

Andrew Greeley of all people.


2 posted on 04/15/2005 4:39:11 PM PDT by Grey Ghost II
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To: Grey Ghost II
The leaders confidently expected that the laity would do what they were told. They could not have been more wrong, nor their strategy more counterproductive. The laity and the lower clergy for the most part simply ignored them and went about creating new structures in which Catholics would affiliate with the church on their own terms.

What "Father" Greeley and his ilk (the dying leftovers of '60s dissent) fail to realize is that the laity have indeed become more outspoken and organized since Vatican II, and what they are promoting is doctrinal orthodoxy and moral clarity. The dissident laity are the ones who have basically abandoned the Church; they trot out their Catholicism at election time, to explain what marvelously independent thinkers they are. But the ones who are still in the pews are the future of the Catholic Church, and it is a bright future, looking nothing whatever like the favorite of the Greeley-ites, the ECUSA. For one thing, it is much, much younger.

3 posted on 04/15/2005 4:41:22 PM PDT by madprof98
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To: Grey Ghost II
The only thing worse than a lefty with an agenda, is a lefty with an agenda who also lacks intelligence. What perfect example of a perfectly useful idiot.

If it's ok with you, I think I'll post this on Angelqueen.

4 posted on 04/15/2005 4:48:59 PM PDT by AAABEST (Kyrie eleison - Christe eleison )
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To: Grey Ghost II

Greeley is delusional.


5 posted on 04/15/2005 4:49:26 PM PDT by nickcarraway (I'm Only Alive, Because a Judge Hasn't Ruled I Should Die...)
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To: Grey Ghost II

Color me stupid, but I didn't understand one WHIT of what "Father" Greeley was saying. I think I KNOW what he thinks, but his writing wasn;t at all clear to me.....must be the novelist in him.


6 posted on 04/15/2005 4:51:25 PM PDT by Ann Archy (Abortion: The Human Sacrifice to the god of Convenience.)
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To: Grey Ghost II

These are dreams all right, but they're Greeley's.


7 posted on 04/15/2005 5:03:08 PM PDT by gbcdoj (In the world you shall have distress. But have confidence. I have overcome the world. ~ John 16:33)
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To: Grey Ghost II
you cannot repeal an ecumenical council and cancel its effects

But the last Ecumenical Council was in 787 AD.

We need another.

I think Josef Cardinal Ratzinger is prepared to call one, if he is chosen.

8 posted on 04/15/2005 5:03:47 PM PDT by Jim Noble (Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God)
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To: Grey Ghost II
Unfortunately they have not, will not learn that you cannot repeal an ecumenical council and cancel its effects

I don't want to get into the other issues --- but Vatican II was, by definition, not and Ecumenical Council. No council will be ecumenical until the Church of the East and the West meet as One.

9 posted on 04/15/2005 5:22:18 PM PDT by kosta50 (Eastern Orthodox is pure Christianity)
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To: kosta50
No council will be ecumenical until the Church of the East and the West meet as One.

And, in the meantime, I can understand the reluctance of the Orthodox to jump into Rome's ecumenical cesspool. Y'all take your time, maybe Rome will come to its senses, due to your stance.

Church of the Holy Apostles Anglican/Roman Catholic Congregation of Hampton Roads

Established on All Saints Day, 1977, in Norfolk, Virginia, at the request of Bishop Walter Sullivan of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Richmond and Bishop David Rose of the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia. Services Services are held each week at 10:00 a.m. There are two altars in the worship space. Roman Catholics are invited to receive from the Roman Catholic priest; all other Baptized Christians in good standing with their own church are invited to receive from the Episcopal priest. Christian Formation for all ages is held from September 20 until May at 11:00 a.m.

10 posted on 04/15/2005 6:12:27 PM PDT by Grey Ghost II
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To: madprof98
But the ones who are still in the pews are the future of the Catholic Church, and it is a bright future, looking nothing whatever like the favorite of the Greeley-ites, the ECUSA. For one thing, it is much, much younger.

And none of those younger families follow Humanae Vitae, they're OK with married priests, and even with women priests. They are NOT promoting "moral clarity," or "doctrinal orthodoxy," at least not of the Vatican variety.

You need to get out more. Weekly Mass Catholics couldn't care less who the Pope is, or what he says. They look to their pastor and bishop for leadership and direction.

11 posted on 04/15/2005 6:37:12 PM PDT by sinkspur (If you want unconditional love with skin, and hair and a warm nose, get a shelter dog.)
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To: Grey Ghost II
And what did Vatican II get us? I moved to the suburbs (unrelated to Vatican II) and guitar masses, and tambourines, and people who were very impressed with their ability to sing folk songs during a Catholic Mass.

The climax came when our parish installed a horse trough (purchased from Farm and Fleet) to do immersion baptisms to folk songs. That was the end of the line for me. I told my wife that I could not attend Mass at "Our Lady of Mr. Ed" and haven't set foot in that church since.

Love the religion, but the church surrounding it needs a lot of work.

12 posted on 04/15/2005 6:44:25 PM PDT by Bernard (Memory is the second thing to go. I forget what goes first.)
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To: Grey Ghost II
The council was a revolutionary event that had a profound impact on Catholics who lived through it and indirectly on their children, who have barely heard about it. It's still the green dragon lurking in the Sistine Chapel even if the electors can't quite see it.

The model of unchanging Catholicism in response to the Reformation, the Enlightenment and the French Revolution assumed that the church would not change, should not change, could not change. Suddenly the laity and lower clergy experienced changes in liturgy, in Scripture interpretation, in theories of religious liberty, in attitudes toward other Christians and Jews, in trust of the modern world. The structures -- patterns of behavior and supporting motivations -- that had supported the church for several centuries collapsed.

Say what you will about Greeley, at least he is an honest liberal.

13 posted on 04/15/2005 6:44:46 PM PDT by Canticle_of_Deborah
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To: sinkspur
And none of those younger families follow Humanae Vitae

What should we do about it?

14 posted on 04/15/2005 6:44:50 PM PDT by gbcdoj (In the world you shall have distress. But have confidence. I have overcome the world. ~ John 16:33)
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To: sinkspur
Weekly Mass Catholics

Who are your other Catholics? The Christmas/Easter ones?

15 posted on 04/15/2005 6:49:54 PM PDT by Grey Ghost II
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To: sinkspur

"Weekly Mass Catholics couldn't care less who the Pope is, or what he says. They look to their pastor and bishop for leadership and direction."

Then aren't these folks, therefore, de facto Presbyterians and Episcopalians?
Why not merge denominations and make it official?

Considering the record of most of our bishops, I have some bridges I would like to sell these folks.


16 posted on 04/15/2005 6:52:15 PM PDT by rogator
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To: gbcdoj
What should we do about it?

The hierarchy should find out why these Catholic couples simply ignore Church teaching on contraception. Instead of berating them, telling them they're going to hell if they don't do what the Pope says, we need to talk with them.

Perhaps it would also be a good thing to find out why a significant number of clergy don't accept the teaching either.

17 posted on 04/15/2005 7:00:53 PM PDT by sinkspur (If you want unconditional love with skin, and hair and a warm nose, get a shelter dog.)
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To: sinkspur
Weekly Mass Catholics couldn't care less who the Pope is, or what he says.

Sounds like the Church is dead where you are. But not everywhere. My point (which you missed, probably intentionally) is that the most vibrant lay movements in the Catholic Church today are all conservative. The pro-life movement is just one example. The laity, increasingly the younger laity, are pushing the clergy to take stronger positions on the issue.

Couldn't care less who the pope is? The geriatric set who read America and Commonweal and NCR can only wish that were true of younger Catholics.

18 posted on 04/15/2005 7:01:04 PM PDT by madprof98
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To: Grey Ghost II; Canticle_of_Deborah
Despite the late pope's efforts to reassert the church's traditional sexual ethic, acceptance of it has declined everywhere.

Oh well, if most people don't accept it, they should just change the doctrine to what people will accept./sarcasm

19 posted on 04/15/2005 7:03:56 PM PDT by murphE (Never miss an opportunity to kiss the hand of a holy priest.)
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To: sinkspur

That is a very diplomatic post.


20 posted on 04/15/2005 7:06:10 PM PDT by Torie (Constrain rogue state courts; repeal your state constitution)
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