Don’t Worry About Vatican 2

Don’t Worry About Vatican 2 December 10, 2021

if you go against the judgment of the hierarchy of the Church on ANY issue, you will always find that you were wrong in the end.-William C. Michael

One of the great things about FB is that you are constantly coming across great things to read, which in turn gives you great things to ponder and wonder about. Recently one of my FB friends, Theologian, Blogger, and all around great guy Dr. Larry Chapp posted these articles about the Second Vatican Council. They are chock full of great thought and a defense for the most recent church council.

Further, did the Second Vatican Council really produce no good worth mentioning?  True, its liturgical reforms were commandeered by banality in the United States. For example, there is the introduction of hymns with no aesthetic merit but containing doctrinal errors especially regarding the Eucharist, hymns that de-catechized the very Catholics who faithfully attend Sunday Mass.

But it is equally true, for example, that the reforms produced the beautiful inculturated liturgies in churches across Africa. I attended a Mass celebrated according to the Rite of Zaire in an isolated region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It fully expressed the spirit of the liturgy of the universal Church not in spite of its being celebrated in an unmistakably African voicing, but because of it. In chant and in movement it communicated a dignity commensurate with the “awfulness of the Sacrifice,” as Servant of God Dorothy Day once put it, while clothing it in an un-self-conscious warmth appropriate to the “Sacrament of Charity.”
Was Vatican II a Bad Seed? | Church Life Journal | University of Notre Dame (nd.edu)

Vatican’s II’s ressourcement sought to know Christ in a new way: to re-discover the Person of Jesus Christ—not only through propositions about him, but by inviting and fostering a personal encounter with him. An encounter that leads not merely to an assent of the mind, but a consent of the heart, and, hence, to transformation of life. And it sought to bring that renewed sense of Christ’s reality and primacy into all facets of the Church’s life and its relation to the world. Indeed, to proclaim Christ as Lumen Gentium. For, as Gaudium et Spes confesses, with lyric exultation: “The Lord is the goal of human history, the point on which the desires of history and civilization turn, the center of the human race, the joy of all hearts and the fulfillment of all desires.
Remembering and Misremembering Vatican II | Church Life Journal | University of Notre Dame

Great stuff.

It got a number of responses as his posts usually do, that mine don’t. One particular comment stuck out to me.

Tony: I think that Vatican 2 should be shelved. It is not some Super-council. Let it fade back into history. It preached no heresy. Some of the council documents are very fine. Almost everything that people visited upon the Church in the Ghost of Vatican Past was malign — from the iconoclasm to the horrible music to the clericalization of the laity to the dumbing down of the faith to the betrayal of one college and school after another. I speak these things in friendship with you. But I’m old, and I lived through the waste land….

I thought about this and some of the other things that a few others said that were negative against the council. Those few individuals  are all a lot smarter than me and I would never try to engage them in any debate of any kind. I saw one of their books at the La Salette Shrine bookstore when I recently went to see the Christmas lights with my wife sometime last week. They’re smart guys. The same thing goes for Dr. Chapp. I don’t agree with everything he says or writes and I would be foolish to try and enter into a debate with him on a disagreeable topic as my brain would burst into flames from the ignorance I would bring to the conversation.

But I don’t try to poke the tiger by bringing up issues I disagree with. I stick to topics we agree on. I agree with him on a majority of what he writes about. I don’t have the energy or mental recall to engage in debates due to lack of sleep and having to do regular normal people things go to work, go to mass, pray, eat, hang out with my wife, and watch quality TV shows such as Hawkeye and Jurassic Park: Camp Cretaceous. Although truth be told I do sometimes go looking for an argument I might be able to engage in when I should be concentrating more on praying instead. Pride tries to sneak in and derail you from your goal of spreading light by having you look for darkness.

The way I look at this is this. The church fathers were a lot smarter than me also. They got together and had Vatican 2. It is now it is here to stay with us. It’s part of our church teaching now. It’s a part of our way of life. We can’t ignore it, forget about it, pretend it never happen. We can only try to understand it and apply it to our lives. The last several popes thought it was a good idea and as head of the church said it was OK to follow and implement it in our lives. So no matter what complaining and explaining fellow Catholics have about the council the head of our church for the last several popes has given me permission to implement it in my life and in yours. This is the judgement of the church.

With the Council, the Church first had an experience of faith, as she entrusted herself to God without reserve, as one who trusts and is certain of being loved. It is precisely this act of entrustment to God which stands out from an objective examination of the Acts. Anyone who wishes to approach the Council without considering this interpretive key would be unable to penetrate its depths. Only from a faith-perspective can we see the Council event as a gift whose still hidden wealth we must know how to mine. (St. Pope John Paul II-Address to the Conference Studying the Implementation of Vatican II, February 27, 2000)

Take it up with this Saintly pope in heaven. Have an argument with him and tell him he’s wrong. I don’t have the time or energy to fight and complain about what the church has said is permissible. Larry does the church service when he posts articles like this to defend the council. And when he does have an objection about something related to council or other matters  I can take him seriously because he comes from a place of respect. And no offense to the other smart guys who disagree with Larry and the church fathers, no matter how much you long for the glory days of old and think they should be returned, it’s not going to happen. The glory days are never as glorious as people make them out to be.

For a man as myself, who has known nothing else besides the post conciliar church, to read that one of the triumphs of Vatican II was that it dealt with a “Christological amnesia” through a heavy Christocentric focus persuades me that the pre-conciliar Church must have been missing the mark.-Jared

I’m not going to argue about the council, that is up to the guys who have more alert brains with more time to engage in such things. I’m just a simple laymen with a theological degree who is trying to love God and neighbor and don’t want to wrap myself up in scrupulous worrying about whether a legit council by the church is bad or not. It’s good. My advice to anyone concerned about the council. Don’t worry about it. The church has spoken. Amen.

At some point I plan on reading this book recommended by Bishop Robert Barron and Word on Fire.
From the WOF page about the book…

Britton clears up misconceptions about the council and reveals how—when properly understood and applied—it fosters a richer experience of being in the Church. Britton says Vatican II

  • promotes a radical return to the Church Fathers and the Scriptures, holding both a commitment to tradition and the need for constant renewal in life-giving balance,
  • recenters the Church on sacred liturgy and encourages both active participation and genuine encounter with transcendence, and
  • charts a clear path for the Church’s renewal and empowers it for evangelism and transformative engagement with the world.

Britton invites all Catholics to step beyond the polarization and embrace Vatican II as one of our greatest resources for being in the Church in a way that is faithful, engaged, and effective if we answer its radical call to worship and renewal.

Reclaiming Vatican II: What It (Really) Said, What It Means, and How I – Word on Fire


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