Monday, July 9, 2007

Faithful to Vatican II

According to Fr. Vosko, pre-Vatican II-built churches were built to be faithful to a former theological thought and many need to be altered to embrace the changes brought about by Vatican II.
— Archdiocese of Milwaukee, Cathedral Enhancement Begins With Education, 11/22/1999

Now, I know: you’re saying, “but, what about . . .? and, what about . . .?” I know you can think of any number of things you think [Summorum Pontificum] undoes, that were “from Vatican II.”

Let me explain. Again, maybe read this very slowly: While what’s happening (from the pope, and from the Church in general in recent years) is not in any way contrary to the actual teaching and content of Vatican II, it is, in fact, calling into question what many, many people think — and were told — Vatican II was about.

So, welcome to a period in which a lot of us are going to discover we were misinformed about Vatican II. Either someone flatly told us wrong, or — to be fair — maybe we relied on bad information. Remember, while some may have acted with bad intention, many more acted with good intention, but made honest mistakes. Got carried away. Also, many priests, back then, had to explain a lot in a hurry, so maybe how they explained things, then, could have been better.

But the past is past; what is here, now, is that we are called to ask the question anew: just what did Vatican II say, teach, call for? What shall we do to be faithful to Vatican II?. . . 

To wrap up by getting back to something more tangible, here’s what I think “following Peter” seems to call for in all this:

  1. Stop being so certain about what you think Vatican II said, and with Pope Benedict and others, be taught anew. Meet the Council afresh. And if you don’t care that much, then please end the hypocrisy of waving Vatican II around like a club whenever it suits you. Either the Council matters...or it doesn’t. Which?

  2. Whether you like the old form of the Mass doesn’t matter. No one says you have to like it. But it is the Mass. If you really think that the form of the Mass, as we experienced it for something like 1500 years (consider, that’s ¾ths of the life of the Church!), is as bad as all that, how can you even justify such a position? Come on, think: that’s just a non-starter. The pope himself said, in this recent action, that the Mass of the ages must be re-understood in its glory and wonder, the need for reform notwithstanding. See? That’s a very different starting-point for how we think about Vatican II and the Mass, as opposed to the “throw it out and start new” mindset that many have.

  3. Point 2, above, does NOT mean you will be “forced” into anything, unless you consider creating options FOR OTHERS is somehow, coercion of you. That may sound silly, but I will say it again. There really are folks who seek a veto on what others want. I get the letters and phone calls, I know what I’m talking about. I don’t get many.

— Father Martin Fox, Bonfire of the Vanities , July 9, 2007