It Didn’t Go Out with Vatican II

It Didn’t Go Out with Vatican II October 20, 2014

In which we discuss the bizarre unity of Reactionaries and Progressives when it comes to the peculiar belief that the Church split into two Churches–pre- and post-Vatican II, some 50 years ago. For the rest of us, it’s still just the one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church–even when Francis is pope.

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  • Elmwood

    the visible church can’t only be seen as being here to save us in the next, but also here to make us joyful in this life. telling everyone they are doomed unless joined to the visible catholic church isn’t only wrong, but a bad way to evangelize. ideally it should be our joy that attracts people, not our judgments and anger at the libruls and other sinners unlike ourselves.

    • W. Randolph Steele

      The comments on the Register site prove there ARE two churches or maybe more accurately 2 wings of the same church, which is almost the same thing. BTW Mark, MY experience as a 62 year old cradle Catholic is that there IS a big difference between the pre and post Vatican II Churches. BEFORE Vatican II we in Catholic School lived in terror of the nuns and our parents were so in awe of them, they let do whatever the wanted to us. They also held the pastor in awe, no matter how much of a tyrant he might be. BTW, my uncle was priest from 1936 until his death in 1994 and never acted this way, but there many who did. AFTER, Vatican II when priests and nuns began leaving and telling their stories as to why they left AND after Humane Vitae, the people in the pews, the average working men and women, had had enough. They believed they’d, in effect, been lied to and decided to let their consciences be their guide. This also coincided with end of the “Catholic ghetto’s” of the center cities as upwardly mobile, college educated, Catholic’s moved to the suburbs and assimilated. No longer was the Church made up of a bunch of uneducated immigrants who had previously made up the Church and could be more easily led.
      For ME, the difference became apparent in serving Mass. I was 12 when English came in and we stopped worrying about how do do everything EXACTLY RIGHT OR ELSE! Not to mention not having to mumble latin prayers that we memorized but had no clue as to their meaning.. The whole atmosphere became “lighter” and changed for the better. By the time I graduated from 8th grade in 1966, parents were actually protesting some of the more brutal practices inflicted on us as grade school students by the nuns.
      For my mother, it meant being spared a 7th and most likely fatal pregnancy, when her Prostestant gynocologist, prescriibed “The Pill” for her to “regulate her periods” and she accepted his advice. This lasted from 1965 to 1969 when she had to have a partial hysterectomy.
      Pre Vatican II, she never would’ve felt comfortable enough to do that.

      • obpoet

        How does one memorize a Latin prayer and not have the desire to memorize its English translation?

        • Joseph

          Worse, some of those people have no idea what they are even reciting in Latin. Despite not knowing what they are actually praying, they refuse to recite it in English. BTW, I’m a huge fan of the Extraordinary Form lest you think I’m a “Novus Ordo” junkie. But, I enjoy *both* Masses because they are equally valid and I can receive the Sacrament… which is why I’m there in the first place.

        • W. Randolph Steele

          In those days it was easy when you were 10. To be an altar boy was to be “special” and everybody wanted to be “special”. It was a badge of honor. that we all wanted. And oh yeah, the nuns didn’t really teach us the English translation.

          • Andy

            I was an altar boy for 12 years – I had to know the Latin and the English. The priest who taught us said that merely memorizing the Latin was not truly understanding the beauty of the mass.

            • W. Randolph Steele

              It never seemed to dawn on our nuns to do that. I DO remember threatening me as a 10 year old altar boy with bodily harm for the great sin of picking up his biretta by tha tassle as Mass was ending.

              • Andy

                I recall serving a confirmation mass and Bishop being pissed and suggesting that I might go to hell because I held his mitre not wearing gloves. Oh those were the days.

                • W. Randolph Steele

                  When we got back to the sacristy, he threatened to cut my arm off if I did it again.

                  • Andy

                    He didn’t threaten violence, but then I was the starting center for our high school basketball team, and I think he was impressed with being 6’5″ and in shape.

                    • W. Randolph Steele

                      Interestingly,my pastor got himself so crosswise with his parishioners a few years later, that the Archbishop almost removed him.

                    • Andy

                      Unfortunately our pastor seems to be heading down that path himself – it is so sad.

                    • W. Randolph Steele

                      Mine saved himself, but died a year or so later. He also was a tyrant. Because I have a friend at our Priest’s Personnel Board, I’ve learned who get s transferred where and why. Sometimes, it’s because of “clout”, sometimes because of need, sometimes because of screwups and sometimes because the head didn’t like someone.

      • > The comments on the Register site prove there ARE

        The comments on blogs/newsites don’t prove anything on the kind, never. The “commenters” are often the most extremist; the more “pasionate” (verbally) people are the ones who lack subtlety and calm. Moderation (that which the others confound with mediocrity) is more silent, and correlates better with intelligence. It’s easier to write passionate comments when you don’t understand that reality is nuanced, and that both sides have some portion of the truth. That’s why bishops and theologians are in the whole much more moderated than the combox commenters. The people (intellectually sophisticated or not) who are regarded as lukewarm by the extremists, those who simply go to mass and who are more worried about being good christians than about shouting to the world that “the problem with the church is…X”, those are the majority -not only numerically- and they are the ones who matter. And those are not divided into two churches or two wings.

        • W. Randolph Steele

          For ME, they kind of function as a “focus group”. Letting me know what the partisans think.

      • Joseph

        Well, the Church is older than the 20th century. I find a lot of the tribal arguments from *both* sides which are in error constantly harken back to a time when grandad did something, when Sr. Carmel whacked my hand with a ruler and humiliated me in front of the class, when the infamous Fr. O’Reilly drooled while watching the young national school girls in their swimsuits at the pool (when he wasn’t playing with the altar boys’ tallywackers), or when the army of eucharistic ministers sat around the altar playing on a ukulele singing “Tiptoe Through the Tulips” during the Liturgy. The Church is old and the majority of complaints from the Reactionary Right and the Liberal Left all pertain to very contemporary times… which shows how shortsighted both sides actually are (and why they shouldn’t be listened to).

        • W. Randolph Steele

          Of course these are 20th & 21 century problems. Why? Better education, faster communication and disemination of information. These all played and continue to play a role in the “civil war”.
          Oh and Joseph, please don’t denigrate what some of us went through back then. While I was was never hit, I DID see some who were or worse and not only did they leave the Church after 8th grade along with their parents, but became real enemies of it. Of the 86 who graduated with me for a suburban Catholic grade school in 1966, of the survivors (about 70 or so), the number Catholics left was/is maybe 15. Some became Protestants (a few). Others “nones”, These experiences stay with you if they are bad enough. I had my writing hand switched from left to right because the nuns thought being left handed was bad. It’s caused me no end of trouble ever since.
          I left after minor seminary in 1970 and returned only after my 2nd divorce in 1991 and then with a large grain of salt and 6 years of therapy.

          • catechismhead

            I identify with your experience, having attended Catholic school in the late 50’s and 60’s. After a long period away from the Church I too have come back but am still trying to fit in. I probably give too much significance to the rules and protocol because that was prioritized in my childhood training. For instance, with all the discussion about the Synod, all I can think of is; are there going to be changes in mortal sin definition?

          • Joseph

            I’m not denigrating it, just making the point that both sides only use contemporary anecdotes when complaining about Church teaching or practices and the Church is much older and larger than any one individual’s personal experiences. This *focus* is the only priority on either side of the Reactionary/Liberal perceived split. It is narcissistic to think that the Church must needs change because of what *I* experienced, as if the beginning of history was when I first started remembering things as a toddler.

            .
            Not denigrating it at all. I understand the angst that a lot of Catholics and self-proclaimed ex-Catholics have had with regard to their treatment and the treatment of others by representatives of the Church, especially in Ireland.

            • W. Randolph Steele

              I’ve been thinking about what you wrote and I have to say that it goes back a LOT farther than than that.. I had relatives who were Jewish and THEY never forgot the stories of persecution by Catholics in Europe. There others as well. The history of the Churches screw ups and ill treatment of “others” is long and well known,but it only resonates with believers when it’s THEM. THAT’S why it has become so prominent when many. “NOW, I understand, they did it to ME, TOO!” And so they demand change.

              • Joseph

                But that is still relatively contemporary. Look, my point is not that those issues are irrelevant. Just that the demands for *doctrinal* changes and modern complains are always derived from contemporary times, as if the whole history of the world is wrapped up in what we can recall personally.
                .
                Trust me, it makes me angry how badly Church representatives have behaved in contemporary times. I’ve expressed that more than once.

          • Andy

            I too had my hand switched – lead to really terrible handwriting, but when it came to sports it was actually boon 😉 However, there was damage done in those days – I left Catholic grade school 1965 and was one of those “hit” and the like. I too left the church for a while, though I am not sure ti was all due to the nuns and the like, it was a time of confusion in many ways for many people – when many institutions crumbled under their own weight and through questioning without providing clear answers. I do understand what you are saying.

          • I’ve never really understood why the switching of dominant hands is a particularly Catholic concern. My in-laws were unhappy at the idea of my children being left handed. Their Catholic influence was null as they got their ideas from communist Romania and are Orthodox. That the Church goes along with society in inessential matters of education is just going to be a fact of life. If it did not, it would be a totalitarian institution.

            • W. Randolph Steele

              Sorry, but by the time I went to grade school in 1958, NO public schools in my area did that and it had been discontinued for many years in public schools. ONLY Catholic Schools did it then and were KNOWN for doing it much to the detriment of many of their students, ME included..

              • Ok, your local Catholics were out of step with modern educational pedagogy, got it. That’s a real shame. Since I ran into the same issue in a non-Catholic setting in the 21st century, I just wasn’t aware that people stopped doing that so long ago.

                • W. Randolph Steele

                  I t was more than just locally. I’ve talked to others from other parts of the country who went to Catholic school then who went trough the same thing.
                  BTW, ever hear of “Catholic Bladder”? It was a condition found in adolescent’s, who primarily went to Catholic schools at that time. It was an enlarged bladder cause by children having to “hold” it until you were allowed to go to the rest room. “Accidents” were punished. You were thought to only need to go twice a day. PERIOD. Finally, in 8th grade a Catholic pediatrician called our principal in 1966 after seeing a number of cases and being told the policy. Despite being called by a doctor, she refused to change the policy then. Eventually it was. But still, that’s how it was.

                  • The phrase “catholic bladder” (with quotes because without quotes, you get a lot of prayers about cancer and stories about oncology units at Catholic hospitals) has 124 hits on Google. So, yes, it seems to be a real thing but not a very widespread thing.

                    Look, I’m kind of running under the terms of the papal apology to the eastern Church so a lot of stuff that was pre-JP II apology I just really don’t want to dig into because it’s an occasion for sin for me. All the stuff you’re talking about is not really in my rite. I’m not denigrating your experience or calling you a liar. I’m just saying that the Church is more than that. If you can bring yourself to let events of half a century ago, it might be a good thing for you.

                    • W. Randolph Steele

                      Well, let me say that 6 years of therapy helped, but sometimes reading the blogs will. push my buttons. I gues I’m pretty lucky in that my parish, while small, is a progressive, welcoming place and when I walked in in March of 1991 for a Saturday night Mass. Nobody said anything, they just smiled and shook my hand. It is a far cry from a lot of parishes I’ve visited. It’s the Church that I left in 1970 and I’m glad to be part of it.

                    • I didn’t know to welcome you back ’till now but I’m glad you’re back. I had worried a bit.

                    • W. Randolph Steele

                      I’m not going anywhere as long I have my parish.

  • Peggy

    So, are you saying that only “Reactionaries” support Catholic teaching on marriage, human sexuality, and the sacredness of the Eucharist? So, holding such views is “reactionary”? What do we say about St. Thomas More? St. John Fisher? They were “reactionaries”?

    There is clarity as to what the Church has been teaching for 2000 years regarding marriage, human sexuality and the Eucharist. The coup was averted…for now. We’ll see what happens next October.

    There is a liturgical split post-V2 as well as a moral/theological split in the Church society. That is terribly sad. They are not the same fault lines. Many an “orthodox” Catholic happily attends the novus ordo which many liturgical and moral progressives have sorely abused in many places. So, yes, some population of Catholics are caught in the middle here. It will be interesting how things shake out, what decisions people make.

    • chezami

      “So, are you saying that only “Reactionaries” support Catholic teaching on marriage, human sexuality, and the sacredness of the Eucharist?” No. I’m saying they imagine they are.

      • Peggy

        I can’t get into their heads, but I have no sense that they are the only ones. There are clearly, however, forces against Catholic teaching at work. They are cause for concern.

        • petey

          can you identify these forces?

          • Peggy

            Within the synod, Kaspar, for one. Abp. Forte, I think his name is, who wrote the ridiculous paras on homosexuals. Enough other cardinals in the synod stand against Catholic teaching given the document that came forth–but not enough to win the day with their shenanigans.

            Card Dolan sadly has not impressed me with much moral courage of late. Is he against the Church teaching? No, I don’t think so, but he’s been persuaded to compromise–to be popular? I don’t know.

            The German bishops want their Church tax money. That should not be lost in all this. This is the impetus for action by Kasper. Francis may be more aligned with them as he doesn’t seem to put much store by “law.”.

            There are of course outside homosexual groups pressuring the process. The Catholic progressives are agitating as well for the whole ball of wax of course. That’s plenty of force, I’d say. Turn a blind eye if you wish. “everything’s all right, yes, everything’s fine…”

            • petey

              thanks for confirming the stereotype.

              • Peggy

                Just my imagination, eh?

                Who/what do you think caused that awful document to be prepared? Why do you think Kasper wants the changes he wants? Why is Francis accommodating and putting down “law” and “tradition”? The “a pox on both your houses” routine from the middle is getting old.

                Thanks for confirming the stereotype yourself, sir.

    • ivan_the_mad

      It’s really contradictory that you should assert something like this, since it blatantly ignores Christ’s promise to His Church, i.e. its indefectibility:

      “Among the prerogatives conferred on His Church by Christ is the gift of indefectibility. By this term is signified, not merely that the Church will persist to the end of time, but further, that it will preserve unimpaired its essential characteristics. The Church can never undergo any constitutional change which will make it, as a social organism, something different from what it was originally. It can never become corrupt in faith or in morals; nor can it ever lose the Apostolic hierarchy, or the sacraments through which Christ communicates grace to men.” — Catholic Encyclopedia, 1917

      If you insist on seeing a split, i.e. a break in continuity, or imagining a legitimate exercise of the magisterium can be a coup to introduce error, then you insist on ignoring His promise. That is the mistake the Protestants made.

      • Peggy

        I observe the splits among the people. I am concerned nonetheless, about the institution and the Body of Christ as a whole.

      • The historical election of competing popes argues against your reading of this promise. There are other interpretations.

        • ivan_the_mad

          Nope 🙂

  • linda daily

    You truly don’t see that this blog contributes to the divisiveness, and that you profit from agitating the Body of Christ? Ordinary Catholicism is what you see at your parish on Sunday – your internet Catholicism is a distant, ornery relative.

    • chezami

      It’s really weird to live in a time where saying “Don’t panic. Stick with the Pope. Listen to the teaching of the Magisterium. Stop dissing the Council. Stop calling for the expulsion of your fellow Catholics from the Church” is condemned as “divisive”.

      • linda daily

        Live your faith rather than commenting on others. I understand that the temptation to apologetics is strong and controversy generates more hits than spiritually uplifting information. But what happens here is not helpful or healthy for the Church.

    • Joseph

      Hmmm… if you want my opinion (and you probably don’t), I don’t think that this blog contributes to the divisiveness. The divisiveness already exists in abundance. This blog only illustrates it and, speaking as a former proselyte uber Catholic who would have been considered a Reactionary several years ago, I think it helps the two erroneous sides beat the extremism out of each other often resulting in bringing Catholics to *the light*. Also, the blog is visited by Protestants and self-proclaimed Atheists who actually end up seeing that there is some sanity in many of the rational Catholic arguments posted here.
      .
      It’s not everyone’s cup of tea because it cuts so close to the bone, but I believe that it’s part and parcel of being Catholic to constantly evaluate ourselves and engage and eradicate the destructive tribalism that actually has no roots in true Catholic teaching. If I were a non-Catholic visiting this site, I think I’d rather enjoy it.

      .
      The divisiveness of which you speak would survive just fine without Mark’s blog. I don’t think Mark’s blog is for the divisive though. I sense that Mark is just as fed up with the blinding political tribalism so apparent in the Catholic Church, especially in America, that he feels the need to constantly post the inconsistencies in their arguments using real stories and facts. It’s only *divisive* to those who don’t want to hear the knocking at the door.