Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Monday, November 12, 2007
Tagging Myself For a Meme
The So-Called "Extraordinary" Meme
I'm tagging myself for this meme for two reasons. The first is that I would never be tagged for it otherwise. You see, the originators and devotees are waiting for people like me to "die off" before they would ever consider it.
Second... There really wasn't anything wrong with this meme in principle, but it took a nasty twist at the end, and I'd like to stick up for the maligned individual in question. I don't know if the last question was on the original meme or not, I think it was an accretion, but it epitomizes the ugliness, chortling malevolance, and mean-spiritedness that has unfortunately become the dominant characteristic of the posts and combox responses to be found in the Catholic blogging world today. It sickens me.
As I alluded earlier on Crystal's blog, I'm sick and tired of people who are still wet behind their ears from their chrismation presuming to tell people who've lived their entire lives in the faith what authentic Catholicism is and what it is not.
I'm also frustrated by all these young traditionalists, "re-discovering" their Catholicism on some apologetics website within the last two or three years imagining a so-called Golden Age prior ot Vatican II, either trashing the Second Vatican Council outright, or giving it the most tepid endorsement possible, characterizing it as a sort of failed "pastoral" council that didn't change any dogma thank goodness, and should be quietly jettisoned. Another variant urges people to look at the "letter" of the Vatican II texts rather than the "demonically-inspired 'Spirit of the Council'". Anyone old enough to remember, on the other hand, who actually happened to be around in those years, is spurned as a gray-haired liturgical-dancing loving fogey who presided over the "ruin" of the Church, which is lying in shambles, and waiting for the young traditionalists to fix it. The fogeys are urged to die off as soon as possible.
It's more likely that the young trads will shrink it down to a curious museum piece, if they get their way.
The truth of the matter is, every single indicator that worries them so much was already present in the years before Vatican II. Europe was already in a crisis of faith. That's why the Council was held. That's why Henri de Lubac, a peritus at the Council, wrote The Drama of Atheistic Humanism, seeking to explore why the Church had already lost the hearts and souls of so many of the faithful. As for the US, it was living a hermetically-sealed ghetto Catholicism in a hostile Protestant society. Once Catholics became educated, affluent, and mainstream, those very elements, along with the secular upheavals in the sixties and seventies themselves, contributed to leading us where we are today.
The young radtrads cry, "Look at the wreckage in the Church after Vatican II! Wow! Great idea that was! What fruits of the Council! It's Springtime!"
I answer, "World War I - 9.7 million military deaths, and 10 million civilian deaths. World War II - 25 million military deaths and 50 million civilian deaths... Yes, It was Summertime before Vatican II!" That's not counting all the other wars around the planet in the Twentieth Century. What kind of Christian continent was that? That Latin Mass certainly was a panacea for everything that was ailing Western Civilization, wasn't it? It certainly was doing the job, obviously.... If anything, the Council was held about 10 years too late, putting it up against the perfect storm of the sixties.
As for these youngsters who are bitter about their whiffle-catechesis while growing up, angry that all they got in their classes was word-search puzzles and smiley-faces, I hear you excorciating the nuns and laywomen who taught you. Well, I remember how difficult is was for them to educate the spoiled brats in your generation, because you had no manners and you had no attention span for anything much deeper. Don't blame those educators for your woeful lack of knowledge. If you were brought up without the Faith in your households, it was the fault of your parents, not the fault of the educators who worked their hearts out trying to get through to you. Just because you're jealous of the vitality of Evangelical Protestantism in comparison to how you view Catholicism these days, don't blame the educators. Look closer to home. Truth is, your parents likely checked out with Humanae Vitae (when Paul VI listened to his curial mandarins instead of the laity) , which is why you weren't brought up like they were themselves.
I consider myself to be in neither the traditionalist nor the liberal camp. I must say, however, that I can certainly understand the frustration on the part of progressives in recent decades. I don’t have a problem with Latin. I don’t have a problem with the historical legacies of our Church, although I do agree with traditionalists that Vatican II was in fact a revolution. It was not a revolution in the sense that they mean it, in that the values of the French Revolution infected the Church. It was a revolution in the sense that the assembled bishops finally stood up like men and acted like real bishops, and were not cowed by the coterie of extreme anti-modernist integrists in the Roman Curia who equated the Church with themselves. The bishops had the support of the Pope in that regard, at least with John XXIII. The Curia has been fighting a rear-guard action in a restorationist effort ever since. The Curia was never reformed as it should have been. They just waited for the bishops and the theologians to go home, then it was back to business as usual. Now that the Church is in a mess, they point the accusing finger at others rather than themselves, casting aspersion and blame on the very council they worked so hard to scuttle.
I understand the frustration of progessives on matters related to the liturgy in particular, because a lot of this was SSPX-driven, and there is a lot more wrong with the SSPX than the illicit consecration of a handful of bishops in defiance of the Pope. In addition to their non-acceptance of the Council is their obnoxious anti-semitism (which should be roundly condemned by all Catholics everywhere) and their inane, crackpot theories around Judeo/Masonic/Communist plots. These Jansenists are still obsessed with the French Revolution and the Ancien Regime. These are the people Benedict is extending an olive branch to, while progressives, concerned about more lay involvement in the governance of the Church, a wider role for women, a reconsideration of mandatory celibacy, and a recognition of positive aspects of Liberation Theology, are shunted to the side, or investigated, censured and disciplined.
Anyhow, here's this meme...
Contine reading Jeff's post