There is a particularly disgusting article in the Jesuit-run America Magazine by John W. O’Malley, S.J., of the theology department at Georgetown University.
While this is sort of old news now, I think it deserves a fisk.
Before continuing, please note that I spoke my piece about Notre Dame and Pres. Obama. While I will revisit the event from time to time, I won’t be hammering away at it too much.
I address this new piece not merely for the Notre Dame issue, but other issues which interest me.
Mainly, you should note that this America article puts on display how deeply mired some of these people are in the hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture which Pope Benedict is trying to correct.
Also, the writer misappropriates the "Fathers of the Church" in a particularly egregious way.
Anyway, a little background – since the writer is a Jesuit and a prof at the suborned Georgetown. Georgetown bent over backwards for the Obama White House and covered over the Holy Name of Jesus at his request.
Also, highly placed progressivist Catholics have been openly pandering to power. They have compromised themselves and the Church in the United States on the matter of abortion.
Moreover, in past entries I suggested that, since Georgetown and Notre Dame, the progressivists have declared Pres. Obama to be their new Pope? The article below from America provides more evidence.
Not only is there a new Pope, it seems we know have a new Magisterium, a progressivist and discontinuous Magisterium of rupture built around select buzz words from the Second Vatican Council.
Let’s read the America piece with my emphases and comments.
Barack Obama and Vatican II
The president’s persona and the spirit of the council
John W. O’Malley | MAY 25, 2009
We have a Vatican II president. Barack Obama, I am sure, does not think of himself in those terms, but when I heard his speech at Grant Park in Chicago the night he was elected, and more recently his commencement address at Notre Dame, that is what immediately struck me. On those occasions he embodied and professed in his public persona the spirit of the council. In making that statement I know that I am entering a minefield. Catholics who denounce the president for his stance on abortion are of course responsible for many of the mines in the field, but their mines have been so thoroughly discussed lately that for the sake of brevity I will bypass them here. [Only to bring it up again at the end… tuck this little note away.]
The other set of mines in the field comes from the expression “the spirit of Vatican II.” The expression, used widely at the time of the council and given a certain official standing at the Synod of Bishops in 1985, ["a certain official status"? I have no idea what "certain official status" means. If you look at the final document of the Synod, that expression doesn’t appear. And even if it is, that wouldn’t give it any sort of "official status". Synods gather to talk about what the Pope wants them to talk about and the Pope uses what he wants from their deliberations. They cannot do anything on their own.] has lately in Roman circles been quietly downgraded, if not dismissed as meaningless. No doubt, the expression has been abused to justify interpretations far removed from what the bishops intended, and it has seemed all too prone to ideological manipulation. Your “spirit of the council” is not my “spirit of the council.”
Yet [This is where things get interesting…] the expression has a legitimate place in our vocabulary and is in fact almost indispensable for grasping the big message the council wanted to deliver. By “the spirit of the council” I mean [He defines his own use of the term, which is fair. Just remember to dismiss that twaddle about "certain official status", above…] simply general orientations that transcended particular issues. In my book, What Happened at Vatican II, I argue that beneath the particular issues the council dealt with—episcopal collegiality, for instance, and religious liberty—more profound and far-reaching issues lurked. [A conciliar
"sub-text"? What the Council really said?] I call these the issues-under-the-issues. I ground them in the texts of the council and in that way ground “the spirit of the council” and give it verifiable substance. [A nice slight of hand. Clever.]
[I think we have to agree that he is right about this next part.] Among the issues-under-the issues was style, ["style" is a slippery word, but read on…] the issue especially pertinent for grounding “the spirit of the council.” The council spoke in a new style, a style different from all previous councils. [Okay…..] It eschewed words implying punishment, surveillance, hostility, distrust and coerced behavior-modification that characterized previous councils. [Yah… okay….] It employed words that espoused a new model for Christian behavior—not new, of course, to the Christian tradition as such, but new to council vocabulary. [Right… and this was a "pastoral Council", right?] I am referring to words like brothers and sisters, cooperation, partnership, human family, conscience, collegiality and especially dialogue. [The magic word… ] The new words cannot be dismissed as casual asides or mere window dressing. The council used them too insistently, intentionally and characteristically for them to be that. This new vocabulary made the council a major language-event in the history of the church. [We stipulate. The problem is that Vatican II does not magically take precedence over all other Councils. The fact that it employs new vocabulary doesn’t mean that we discount other Councils because they didn’t use that vocabulary. What he is has jammed in here is the thin-edge of discontinuity.]
The shift in vocabulary had profound ramifications. It meant a shift in values and priorities. [Do you hear it? That hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture? He is detaching V2 from previous Councils.] Critical among these new values was [wait for it] civility [!!] in dealing with persons of different faiths or convictions and a willingness to listen to them with docile heart and mind. This civility was not a superficial tactic but a manifestation of an inner conversion. [Perhaps he has written a book on this… and I have not read it… perhaps some who lived in those days possess a knowledge of the documents younger people do not]… but this smacks of secret doctrine, gnosticism.] It of course did not mean surrendering one’s beliefs, but it did mean surrendering one’s beliefs, but it did mean a willingness to learn from others and a refusal to condemn them without a hearing. Such openness of mind and heart is the essence of genuine dialogue. [We have to agree with some of these statements. We do have a new tone today because of V2. This new tone is applied to those with whom we previously dealt in a colder way, Protestants, Communists, non-Christians, etc. What we won’t admit is a shift in priorities and values…. unless you have secret knowledge of what the texts really mean. Yes the Vatican Council included this conciliatory language together with other traditional terms. For example it condemned abortion as an unspeakable crime, as if the Council Fathers foresaw the liberalization of abortion that would occur in the near future….]
The council hoped that this new style of being, which brings with it a new way of proceeding, would lead to cooperation among all persons of good will—Catholics and non-Catholics, Christians and non-Christians, believers and non-believers—on the new, massive, and sometimes terrifying problems that face humanity today. This new way of proceeding in large part constituted “the spirit of the council.” It was one of the big messages the council delivered to the church and to the world at large. [Be careful. Don’t just admit all this weight behind "the spirit of Vatican II", the weight the writer gives to it.]
That is why when I heard Obama’s two speeches I was struck by how much he spoke in accord with the spirit of Vatican II. [He set up his premise, which you were supposed to accept, and now he is running with it.] In those two addresses, as well as in his other speeches, he called for civility, for the end of name-calling, and for a willingness to work together to deal with our common problems, including abortion, [This is really all about abortion. Also, doesn’t this sound like the view of a Rawlsian? This is Rawls-speak.] rather than a stand-off determination to impose one’s principles without reckoning what the cost to the common good might be. ["Imposing one’s principles" is bad. "Civility", for O’Malley, is in opposition to "imposing principles". This sounds like John Rawls, the patron saint of reasonableness and civility. O’Malley is basically saying "shut up about abortion" because the President wants you to shut up about abortion. Liberals hate "imposing principles", unless their own principles are the principles being imposed. BTW… weren’t soldiers sent to impose principles of desegregation? And do not forget that Gaudium et spes called abortion an unspeakable crime. But we are simply to SHUT UP about abortion. If we don’t, we are not being "civil". We are "unreasonable".]
President Jenkins of Notre Dame called attention to Obama’s oratorical gifts. Such gifts are consonant with the rhetorical tradition that produced the spirit of Vatican II. The council deliberately chose to speak as much as possible “in the pastoral style of the Fathers,” who were schooled from their earliest days in the rhetorical tradition. That tradition is what made them such effective preachers and leaders of their communities. [Problem: Eloquentia in the Church Fathers included polemic. O’Malley conveniently leaves out polemic. The Fathers were not irenic with people who prompted unspeakable crimes. Shall we look at some of St. Augustine’s gentle, reasonable, pastoral remarks about the Bishop of Eclanum? Shall we muse about how Jerome wrote about some people? And John Chrysostom to the Empress a model of gentleness and reasonableness in his pastoral style. For O’Malley, "pastoral" means … well… kissing up, I think. I prefer Archbp. Chaput’s approach.]
Classical theorists about rhetoric like Cicero and Quintilian described it as the art of winning consensus, [ROFL! It was the art of winning. Rhetorical skills were used to bring people to your side. And when it came to pastors such as Augustine of Hippo, even using force from time to time.] the art of bringing people together for a common cause. It is an art, please note, closely related to ethics, for those same theorists described the truly successful orator as vir bonus dicendi peritus–a good man, skilled in public speaking. It is an art in which Obama excels and which, certainly unwittingly, puts him in touch with the spirit of Vatican II. [Sounds like a gnostic, pointing to the acquisition of knowledge through, what… a seance? Also, this morning a friend pointed out what Augustine says, in City of God, namely, that one of the most effective public speakers is SATAN. "You shall be as gods", was the first political speech of the City of Man, or rather the City of the Devil. Political discourse is rooted in the rhetoric of the devil, a deceptive rhetoric. Politicians try to persuade us always along these lines: we shall live as gods. The writer might review Dodaro, R. Christ and the Just Society in Augustine, p. 66-69. "Satan’s is, therefore, the archetypal seduction because it embodies the form of all future misdirection of the soul. Similarly, it constitutes the prototype for all secular political discourse, in that it displaces within the soul the original blessing of life lived for the sake of authentic spiritual communion, and introduces in its stead the illusion of self-sufficiency and of satisfaction with a lack of moral rectitude." "In Augustine’s view, this retreat into a rival ‘creation’ by Adam and Eve inaugurates the realm of the essentially private. Such, indeed, as the political form of Satan’s own pride: a self-deception whcih rejected the exclusive divine claim to hegemony, and substituted the domain of self-rule. Satan’s rival city remains eternally devoid of truth because its genesis represents an act of usurpation. Augustine’s insistence upon the fundamental mendacity of Satan’s actions is intended to establish the eloquent lie as the cause of social and political disruption characteristic of the earthly city, where he holds sway." (see ciu. 14.4.)]
I often hear laments that the spirit of Vatican II is dead in the church. [In some circles I am sure that it so.] Is it not ironic that not a bishop but the President of the United States [episkopos ton ekton?] should today be the most effective spokesperson for that spirit? [Behold, the new papacy… the new Magisterium!] To judge from the enthusiastic response he received from the graduates at Notre Dame, his message captured their minds and hearts. [Yah.. right… there’s a good measure…] Maybe through young Catholics like those at Notre Dame who are responding to Obama’s message the spirit of Vatican II will, almost through the back door, reenter the church. [Soooo… they aren’t in it now? Even after being at Notre Dame?] The history of the church has, after all, taken stranger turns than that. [And we know where they lead.]
John W. O’Malley, S.J., is university professor, theology department, at Georgetown University and author of What Happened at Vatican II.
There is much more to say… but after that trudge… I need to go wash.