There are several blogs I consult each day. One of those is that of my co-blogger The Cranky Conservative. I am pleased to announce that he has resumed blogging:
Vatican II Failed
I don’t go in for exaggerated Buzzfeed type headlines meant to grab people’s attention, so the title of my post is a meant to convey a simple, straightforward message: it is time to judge the efficacy of Vatican 2, and an honest appraisal can only reach one conclusion: whatever was meant to be accomplished by it has not come to be.
There was more to Vatican 2 than just engagement with the modern world, but that was certainly a core – if not the core – theme of the council. It should be stressed if everything was hunky dory in the Catholic world, then the council would not have been called. In suggesting that the council failed I am not suggesting it was wrong to even call the council.
Nor am I suggesting that all the problems of modern Catholicism are because of Vatican 2. And I certainly do not mean to imply that many of the documents produced at Vatican 2 were not beautiful affirmations of the central tenets of the faith. And I definitely do not think the council or the documents produced therein were heretical, and that everything post Vatican 2 is essentially a false Church.
But if the aim of the council was to reignite the faith, and to engage the wider world to foster communication and understanding, in what way has there been any measurable success? In light of 68 percent of “Catholic” Ireland voting to legalize abortion (or, more accurately, to repeal the constitutional prohibition), maybe now is the time for an honest reassessment.
As I said, the problems didn’t start with Vatican 2. There were problems in the Church, and the itch to modernize was already evident. All one has to do is read the transcript of JFK’s famous Houston speech to understand that things were beginning to change. Reading that now I can’t help but imagine Barack Obama giving a speech in 2008 basically saying it was okay to vote for him because he wasn’t that black, because that was the message JFK conveyed, intentionally or no.
But what has happened since Vatican 2? Is the modern world more “accepting” of Catholicism. Sure, as long as it’s the watered down vision offered by Kennedy and a succession of prelates. Every non-Catholic’s favorite pope is the our current pontiff, and why? Because he says a lot of things that sound vaguely non-Catholic. This isn’t so much an engagement with the world as a surrender.
Is the Church thriving? In certain parts of the world, sure. Even in the United States there are certain dioceses that continue to flourish, and which produce many healthy vocations. Yet there is also a decided decline in Catholic identity, and I’m not just talking about the empty pews in all too many parishes. Even among committed Catholics the sense of uniqueness has dwindled. Some would say this is a good thing: Catholics are finally fitting in!
But if Catholics are going to draw people to the faith by showing it through their lives, is this really happening? “Jim’s a nice guy – he really has a nice family.” That’s all well and good. Wouldn’t it be better to hear, “Jim’s a Catholic, and he exudes faith in Christ. I’d be interesting in hearing more about Catholicism.”
I know I’m oversimplifying and presenting an idealized version of what Catholicism could be. But maybe it wasn’t such a bad thing when Catholics stood out.
Go here to read the rest. There are aspects of Vatican II I like. For example, the embrace, not complete, of religious liberty. However, as a Church Council it was a disaster. It produced a new form of the Mass that is often banal and ugly in its implementation. It replaced a universal language for our Masses with a babel of tongues. It began the process of the Church aping the world with often dire consequences. It launched a “let’s pretend” ecumenicalism which has been death for the essential Catholic teaching that this is The True Faith. The implementation has stunk on ice with the actual documents being ignored and every boneheaded idea imaginable being implemented under the banner of Vatican II. The Church, always speaking only of the human part, was not perfect prior to Vatican II, but it seems like perfection compared to what has come after Vatican II. It is often said that Vatican II cannot be blamed solely for all the problems that the Church has gone through since, and that is a fair enough observation. However, the radical secularization embraced by the West since the 60s, due to Vatican II, was confronted by a weakened Church, a Church that was seen not so much as having thrown open her windows to the world, but rather capitulated to it. Perhaps the most dreadful legacy of Vatican II is the failure of so many Catholics to any longer believe that membership in the Church is essential to their salvation. That sad fact goes a long way to explaining many things: the plummeting of religious vocations, the abandonment of Church pews on Sunday and atrocities like the Irish referendum on abortion on May 25. I accept Vatican II as a valid Church Council as I am by the Faith obliged to do. However, I agree with Paul VI who led the Church in the aftermath that the smoke of Satan has entered the Church. If Satan had been devising a Church Council to devastate the Faith for generations, could he have done better, from his perspective, than what has been brought about in the wake of Vatican II?