At the blog Southern Orders, Fr. Allan McDonald had a few things to say about liberals and Vatican II and what freaks them out.
Here is a taste with my emphases and comments:
The progressive, liberal element of the Church since Vatican II has been a miserable failure for the Church, fragmented and lacking in common sense. [Do I hear an “Amen!”?] That truth is especially symbolized by the form and type of liturgy they would like to see for the Church and in fact have foisted upon two to three generations of Catholics since Vatican II, an iconoclastic liturgy and architecture to match it, an empty, sterile liturgy that focuses on the horizontal and leaves the vertical, the God aspect, on the periphery.
Infallibility that is creeping and creepy as it concerns Sacrosanctum Concilium is a liturgy that blurs the distinctions between the ordained and the laity, the holy of holies and the nave, that emphasizes what the symbols of the liturgy look like, taste like, smell like and act like while neglecting Jesus Christ and His clear mandates. Progressivism makes a god out of bread and wine eaten and drunk, standing to receive and liturgical actions and signs that are big and expansive. But it fails to connect the believer to God in any real sense of Mystery, awe, wonder and humility in the Divine Presence.
What really freaks progressives out is that traditionalists for the most part, while not entirely of course, accept Vatican II and the Liturgy it has wrought and appreciate Vatican II when interpreted within continuity with what preceded it. It freaks them out that the theology of Pope Benedict and his followers is on the ascendency while the post-Vatican II “spirit of the Council” is clearly descending into its own manufactured anarchy and decomposition. It is not long for this world or the next.
I think Pope Benedict’s view of things will impact the future of the Church in a way that no one ever imagined in the 1970’s, that is those from the 1970’s (like me, but at least I’ve tried to move on) who are still living as though it is still 1970 and can’t believe that God has reversed things on them through the Magisterium of the Church and by popular demand. God is good.
Being stuck in the 1970’s is tiresome and the 1970’s really is over except where it is still practiced by a dying generation.
Fr. Z kudos to Fr. McDonald.
On that note, I remind you of what I wrote here: Who are these ‘c’atholic liberals? Young Catholics don’t know and don’t care.
Moreover, aging-hippie liberals interpret everything within the Church still through the lens they formed during the anti-authoritarian civil-rights and anti-war protest movements.
When we try to uphold hierarchy and authority or rubrics or the older form of Mass or obedience to the Magisterium or decorum in liturgy and sacred music, an involuntary subconscious switch clicks in their heads. They take your faithful Catholic position of continuity to be an attack themselves and on Vatican II.
Vatican II cannot, in their minds, be separated from the protest movements they have idolized until they are actually paradigmatic, iconic, even mythic.
The Council itself – in the received liberal interpretation – cannot ever be questioned or subjected to the authority of the letter of the Council’s texts, because they cannot separate their understanding of the Council from those movements of protest.
The events outside the Church in the USA in those days are completely fused with the event of the Council and certain post-Conciliar reforms. They interpret everything they do through the lens of this combined and unassailable myth.
A myth that is now itself dying.
I’m 45 (not ‘youth’) and these people have always royally confused me because I’m a convert. They don’t get it…at all. It’s like it’s all a game to them. A chess game of power struggle. Ick. At least, that’s how it seems to me.
The Spirit of Vatican Two revolutionaries do fear the collapse of their project and the rise of tradition-minded seminarians, priests, and religious. Rightly so. However, what they really need to fear is the lessons we’re learning from the way they are treating their charges in seminaries, novitiates, and rectories. Once the tradition-minded are in charge–it’s inevitable–how will they treat those who’ve treated them with so dismissively? We can pray that charity will prevail; however, one of the lessons learned from the ideologically driven formation so many of us endured is that any decision to exclude/expel/exile can be justified on vague, emotive “pastoral” grounds. IOW, the lesson is that all that really matters is: who has the power? That’s the lesson of modernist/postmodernist formation. And it’s a sad lesson indeed.
Fr. Philip Neri, OP
Right on, Father McDonald! This experiment of liberal Catholicism has been nothing short of an abject failure. The modernists have turned the holy into a heeping pile of stink. Manufactured liturgy, ugly churches, the removal of altar rails, the Cranmer tables, all of it has served only to destroy the Faith. Sound, orthodox Catholic teaching and a restoration of Holy Mass in the Latin tongue ad orientem is the only way to go. The traditional Catholic Church may exist only in remnants here and there, but it is indeed bearing fruit. My sincere thanks to those faithful priests who did not buy into the “Spirit” of Vatican II nonsense and are profitable servants who care for our souls. +JMJ+
AMEN Fr. McDonald! Many of us await the day that the TLM surpasses and replaces all of the happy-clappy Masses everywhere.
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The 1970’s, the 1980’s, and the 1990’s are all history. A colossal period of ecclesiastical failure of liberalism at the helm. They steered us straight into the rocks and we the survivors are left trying to rescue those who are still stranded in the swirling deadly waters of progressivism and utopianism. But many would rather stay there sucking down salt water.
Thankfully, the Holy See has taken some leadership in this regard and working to patch up the bark of Peter so we can set sail again and conquer the seas of holiness and Divine worship.
As a moderate, I have a hard time conceptualizing what would rattle a liberal.
Off for a little Mexican!
One can always ask a liberal to pray for oneself.
“I think Pope Benedict’s view of things will impact the future of the Church in a way that no one ever imagined in the 1970?s, that is those from the 1970?s (like me, but at least I’ve tried to move on) who are still living as though it is still 1970 and can’t believe that God has reversed things on them through the Magisterium of the Church and by popular demand. God is good.”
This paragraph encourages me. But what I have been wondering is which of the Cardinals would keep this going so we can see the full fruits of this? In other words, who is the Ratzinger among them?
Good points Fr. McDonald and Fr. Z. Another aspect that I often wonder about is the fact that for the fish wrap/liberal/dissenters, as the article above describes, the views have been ossified in the protest movement moment and is still unwavering, and it is as if all their favorite agenda items have been tacked onto or plastered over VII, and they carry on in this solidified state, “as if”. Whereas. For so many of the post-VII generations, swimming through the incalculable detritus, having been schooled and trained in it, having been subjected to propagandizing, having been brought up in worship in the round with the haugen ditties, having been lectured that God loves us as is and doesn’t really care if we come to church or whatever we do either way, etc etc., and quite often have found that the 60’s program envisioned in the parish hasn’t offered a cohesive way forward spiritually. Most have given up before trying again, and through conversion of heart and a peeling away of the layers of false beliefs, effects of trying it their way, strange shame and guilt though we have been told not to have any or that there is no such thing as sin except not supporting the correct political platform, have managed, not without much pain in process and often times regret, to find a way forward in orthodoxy and transcendent sacred liturgy. And surprised by joy in orthodoxy, what is a common theme one encounters is that the next process was a thorough self-education involving primary texts, catechism, encyclicals, daily Mass, learning to pray the rosary, writings of the saints, writings of Church fathers, and then finally looking to blogs and Catholic media.
And so while ncr never changes its same old tune, you have, for instance, within orthodoxy, a plethora of differing viewpoints and discussion, for instance, involving different topics, all working within the same framework of the magisterium, which is refreshing in its attempt to sort through how we are to go about living our lives with one another, with and through faithfulness.
friarpark, Cardinal Ranjith has been very impressive in my eyes and has taken the words of the Holy Father to heart, and in practice.
It’s interesting how the port side of the Church has made a fetish of iconoclasm, and so far has
refused to own the devastation it has wrought. Yes, I suppose it does freak them right out that
the next generation is looking at them as an obstacle to progress, just the way they’d
looked at traditional Catholicism while they tore it down.
Surely those port-side Catholics are familiar with karma? I understand it can be rough
I was not alive prior to VII, so I can’t imagine the Church without it. I know how it has been explained and presented to me, but now it has become pretty obvious that quite a lot is unconnected sort of “aftermath” that harkens clearly connects much more to 60’s American political activism than it does with the event, the discussion of, and the documents produced by that Council. So for most people of my age and younger, there is a great amount of filtering that occurs, a sort of truth in advertising process one must go through in terms of what one experiences in the parishes and what one is told, especially when it is advanced as support or explanation for straying from magisterium or rubrics or tradition. One has to say, this, but not that, make sense and is consistent. So I think it is true that all of a sudden there is a generation on the scene that can speak comfortably about the Council and not be guilted or shamed into buying that, say, burning sins on a piece of paper in lieu of confession was supported in VII, or, in particularly the case of fishwrap, dictating a certain path or course of action, liturgical practice, or mandating certain stances popular in secular American politics is inextricably founded on VII. You can see pretty sadly enough that for them VII and the spirit of it has become ossified in their minds and far from the dynamism so famously predicted. They themselves are legalistic and rulebound about asserting that VII demands this or that thing and any other envisioning is simply without support. I think many of us are discovering what VII meant and means to us, but one thing is for sure, this group of 6o’s and 70’s throwbacks, just because they actually lived and were possibly politically conscious at that time, doesn’t speak for the Council, in its place or in its stead, for the rest of the Church.
Friarpark – Someone like Cardinal Scola, Bagnasco, or Canizares would be more than a worthy successor to Pope Benedict. If I had a vote it would be for Cardinal Burke! Hopefully that day is several years in the future.
I converted, of all times, in 1970. I’ll never understand how I survived. When I started my “journey”, in 1966, to the Faith, I was often confused because things changed almost every Sunday. Try this, try that…….. So now here I am smack dab in the middle of the TLM and loving evey minute of it.
I have met several priests that agree with Fr. McDonald.
I think the reason that liberal Catholics fear the traditional mass/worship so much is not necessarily the liturgy, but that a return to more traditional worship would mean an end to any hopes of women priests, gay marriage, abortion, etc. It’s a sign that all of these “dreams” are never going to materialize if we return to traditional worship we return to traditional values.
Cardinal Arinze!!!!!!!!! Cardinal Burke too.
In my opinion the new church in Fátima, just across the square from the main basilica, is the ultimate symbol in Christiandom of that iconoclasm.
What we need is a way out from this iconoclastic crisis of Vatican II. We need a Roman “Triumph of Orthodoxy”, to be commemorated even with its own Feast, as the Easterners do.
@Clinton: Spot on! There is a sweet irony that the aging hippies are viewed as the obstacles to progress, that they themselves don’t represent the voice of the people.
There’s another irony. All those who foam at the mouth about being anti-establishment, anti-authoritarian, are the very ones who have become so close-minded once they became Establishment. Do they not see it? Or, do they not care?
I have such hope for the future. The aging hippies have done big damage, yes. But what we are witnessing is that the gates of hell do not prevail against the Church!
One thing that has struck me recently about the progressive movement in the Church post VII is much of it seemed to be a Protestantizing of the Church – iconoclasm, the “Cranmer table” and removal of altar rails and statues, communion in the hand, de-emphasis of the Real Presence, elimination of devotions such as the Rosary, Benediction, novenas, Ember days, Friday abstinence, etc. Especially here in the US there is a sense that the local parish lay people are now in charge and tend to ignore what comes out of the Vatican, they run things much like I remember the Vestry in an Episcopal church, as an independent entity. I don’t know if this was just an attempt to make us more like the Protestants for ecumenism, or because we thought we could evangelize them easier that way (of course the reality was that the opposite happened).
It seems to me that the modernist generation took over Holy Mother Church after the Council, and the laity took a pounding. The last 40 years have been terrible for the Ordained, who have losttheir authority and become treated with either derision or suspicion, and terrible for the laity, who have been abandoned, but have been wonderful for the self styled ‘Independant Catholic’ whose Catholicity is no more than a veneer for their modernism. This niche is the thread that binds Kung, McBrien, the LCWR, etc etc. Its also been a very good time for a certain kind of lay Catholic ‘professional’, a caste of people who like to impose their own personalities on parishes by dominating poorly formed or overworked priests. Directors of Music/Directors of Liturgy/Catechists/ ‘Lay ministers of Holy Communuion’ etc can do very valuable work, but in the wrong hands they can become petty fiefdoms that can be used to refocus parish life on their own pathetic whims rather than on the face of the living God.
These groups of people are the ones that scream at the rise of the new orthodox generation of the Church. The academics who spent a generation sneering at ‘Ratzinger’ see a new generation of Ratzingers springing up and recoil with horror. And what could they have expected? They produce no fruit. Where are the new Kungs? Where are the new McBriens? Where are the vocations to the wacky religious orders? They may get a few oddballs who try being a nun or like the idea of being a priest, but they have no roots and are scorched by the sun, so they fizzle out and go off to get married or become Buddhists or ‘non denominational post christian spiritual-but-not-religiousists’. Who would you follow? Ratzinger, who serves God on the throne of Peter, whose brilliant mind is illuminated by the radiant love of God and whose deep peace and joy in Christ is evident for the world to see? Or Kung, brooding away in his academic lair, his revolution in tatters around him, the life that he has dedicated himself to fading and dying around him, raging against his own irrelevance.
In my mind the new Orthodox generation is coming like a cavalry over a hill to save the poor blighted laity who have been betrayed by the modernists. The laity who kept the faith despite the bishops who failed to shepherd them, the priests who abdicated their responsibility for their souls, and the terrible hymns and the heterodox homilies and the pro abortion nuns and the culture of death priests and the schools that never taught their children the faith. They held the faith and passed it to their children, who the God of Love is now using to bring his Church back to faith.
“I was not alive prior to VII, so I can’t imagine the Church without it. I know how it has been explained and presented to me, but now it has become pretty obvious that quite a lot is unconnected sort of “aftermath” that harkens clearly connects much more to 60?s American political activism than it does with the event, the discussion of, and the documents produced by that Council.”
I hate reductionist history. I gave the connection between Vatican II and the American political scene serious consideration about six months ago (if memory serves) and I have even written about it in comments on this blog, but always with the plea that one put this moment of history in context.
In spending time online reading comments from various blogs – liberal, conservative, and geek, I have become aware of the great amount of anger and distorted understanding of history that the younger commenters have towards the Baby Boom generation. Really, I’ve never seen the like, before, at least in American history (there are precedents in Russian history – more on that, later).
As a student of Twentieth-century culture, I have to say something.
American Baby Boomers are great joiners, but terrible innovators. They have made their history by carrying forward (sometimes in distorted fashion) the progress of past generations without really inventing very many new thoughts of their own. They are the most malleable generation in American history. Truth be told, and historians have known about this for at least a decade, the 1960’s are just the 1920’s, revisited. Everything: the Red Scare, the rise of impersonal mass media, the objectification of sex, a growing pacifist movement, the culture of drug abuse, can all find their counterparts in the 1920’s. Some historians, aware of the importance of the two eras saw fit to write down, on-the-scene commentary for the posterity of later generations. There is a free-to-download book, written in the 1920’s, that captures the period in real-time. It is: Only Yesterday, by Frederick Lewis Allen. It may be found, here:
I recommend reading the chapters on moral and manners and the Red Scare to really get a sense of how alike the 1920’s and 1960’s really were. The situation in the 1960’s was, likewise, described, on-the-scene, by a group of historians, whose book I am having trouble finding, online (I think Arthur Schlessinger was one of the co-authors). In any case, the protest movements, be they race-, sex-, or war – related, in the 1960’s, were exactly like the 1920’s on steroids. These movements had antecedents, historically, of course – for instance, race relations was a hot topic in 1848 in Europe, when slavery was debated and ended, but the conflating of these movement during these two periods have led historians to see a bi-partite grouping of social history in the 1900’s: essentially, framed by the two World Wars.
The Church resisted involvement, to a large extent, in the societal upheavals of the 1920’s, but not the 1960’s. Why? Ah, there’s the rub. It is important to recall what I said, earlier: Baby Boomers are joiners, pliable in the hands of emotional appeals. The Nuns-on-the-Bus of today were the naive joiners of the 1960’s.
What were they joining? Let’s, briefly, trace it back. First, all of the changes of Vatican II were carried out by (mostly) religious men, bishops and priests, all forty years or older in 1965. Think about that: the modern recalcitrant nuns were NOT the revolutionaries back then. They were the Pygmalions under the sway of clerical Henry Higgins’s. No wonder they came to sound like them, but they, themselves were not the instigators of the changes. They did not incite any of the radicalism. They merely got brainwashed by it (it was, after all, the period of the Manchurian Candidate).
It was the liberal Modernist clergy, some of whom were hiding out at Vatican II, that set the changes in motion, aided by a naive, spoiled, post-WW II group of young people, too short-sided and easily controlled by emotions, to see what they were getting into. These clergy were trained, even in America, by European (read, German) expatriated professors in the seminaries of the 1930’s – 1950’s. These professors, in turn, were trained at the hands of the original Modernist theologians – Harnack, Loisy, and Bultmann, for example. Modernism is just the Protestant principle of Private Interpretation, writ large. Modernism views the collective sense of the religious impulse to be Truth. In that sense, collectivism (a topic being pushed in Russian after Marx) formed, what might be called, “The Magisterium of the Crowd.” Compare that to what would become the really weak-knee current analogy: the Magisterium of Nuns. The same impulse is behind both. Without a group identity, such people know not who they are. It is, in part, the terror of breaking away from the security of the group that keeps many of the current nuns shouting the same old rhetoric.
My point is that these aging hippy types are merely pawns in a much larger and longer played game. They flourished, in both the 1920’s and 1960’s because of the disillusionment of youth, following the World Wars. These two Wars, ravaging the youth and exposing them to hitherto unknown horrors, made them cry out for the freedom to do what they wanted – which was a breeding ground of conformity for anyone willing, as in religion Modernists were, to satisfy them. The youth were victims of the wolfs in the fold.
Why did not the Church succumb to these pressures in the 1920’s? Partially, it was because Modernism was too new. It had not yet infiltrated seminaries outside of Europe. Partially, however, it was because of Pope Leo XII’s Oath Against Modernism. Finally, and very importantly, Italy was against German in WWI, but not WWII. Italy was more of a hiding ground for Modernists in 1940 that it was possible in 1920.
I say all of these things by way of caution. The protest movements of the sixties were symptoms, not causes of the radicalization of liberal theology, as some might believe this post suggests. It was a time of contrasts. As the site, Columbia American History Online, puts it:
“Drawing on Daniel Bell’s “cultural contradictions of capitalism,” David Farber in The Age of Great Dreams: America in the 1960s (New York: Hill and Wang, 1994) roots his analysis of the 1960s in the struggle between two contradictory sets of values: the work ethic and the ethic of consumption. The former required discipline, delayed gratification, good character, hard work, and acceptance of a hierarchical workplace organization, while the latter promoted license, immediate gratification, and “an egalitarian, hedonistic pursuit of self-expression.” Aspects of cultural radicalism could be found on all sides of this contradiction. In insisting on their own music, clothing, and food, radical youth were simply inventing new forms of consumerism, not overthrowing economic and political institutions. Environmentalists, by contrast, sought to deliver the nation from what they saw as a destructive cycle of production and consumption.”
There were as many conservatives as liberals in the 1960’s, but the liberals, because of their experimentations, got more press. Few older people or even high school students did anything but adapt to what scientists, psychologists, and theologians – you know, the so-called, “Wise Ones,” told them was the Truth. The reason the people in the pews caved so easily to the, “Reforms,” of Vatican II instead of rioting in the streets (that HAD happened, before in Church history) was not because, they, themselves were wholly-mouthed radicals, but because, as much as the young people of today might try to deny it, most of the people in the pews in the 1960’s, having grown up in an era of obedience, to, “pray, pay, and obey,”, of the Baltimore Catechism, rolled over without so much as a whimper (well, maybe a little whimpering) at the many changes, because they were trusting of those in authority. In that sense, before the change, they would have been judged conservative.
Sadly, the radical nuns of today are still those same closet conservatives, only their conservatism is being applied to the Lie they were brainwashed into embracing in the late 1960’s. Were they radicals at the time? No. Most were sincere people, who, once trapped in the web of an unsuspecting Liberalism, lost their sense of what was God’s truth and Man’s truth. Most of them were not hippies, originally. They became hippies by their trust. They are, as a group, a sort of example of a religious Stockholm Syndrome. They are not to be mocked. They are to be pitied.
Sorry for the essay-length comment. I thought it was warranted, given the sorts of comments about the influence of the Baby Boomers I see at different places, online. If you want to look for the origins of the modern mess, look at the hearts of the men that would cause two World Wars within thirty years. This is what Mary warned about at Fatima. Sadly, those hearts have still not been converted. The surge of conservatism everyone is cheering about, here, will not last until that wicked impulse in the hearts of so many, is overcome. Otherwise, liberalism will simple go underground, waiting for the time of its return. We have never had a need for Christ’s coming as we do, today. May he come to show His Truth to every human heart this Christmas.
I just made a long comment on this topic, as a cultural historian, but it got moderated. Apparently, one cannot discuss historical topics without the filter going off :(. You know how long-winded historians can be (not, that I would be long-winded :) )
I am looking forward to Vatican III.
Masked Chicken, I certainly am familiar with the historical events of the 20s, and don’t subscribe Baby Boomers to the invention of radicalism or modernism or the various tactics such as protest etc to force their way.
But what I was saying is pretty consistent with your “on steroids” assessment, I think. Of a quality and extent much more extreme, and I don’t disagree that the aftermath or results were not calculated or predicted.
Have seen first hand the response of obedience to the shaming and guilting about VII used as a tactic to force those in the pews to go along or not resist church wreckovation, far astray of orthodox teaching, liturgical innovation not founded by VII. People obeyed. On the whole we see that it was unfortunate and people were taken advantage of, duped, the immediate supporters who then inflicted the wreckage, as well as those who did not resist it. I don’t dispute that at all.
So for the most part I agree with your sense of things, and appreciate the historical detail you sketch out. However, I think what you are missing when you observe the anger and frustration of younger generations to the Boomers and their continued clinging to the same tactics and agenda, despite the signs of the times, has more to do with the sense among Gen X and after that the Boomers collectively, having been schooled in that sort of activism, and being technologically savvy and aware, had the tools and wherewithal and still have them, to recognize the “on steroids” gross aftermath in the wake, so lacking in proportion to their original stands and intentions, and respond, convert, change course, heal the world. My own sense is they utterly fear, most of all, that to bring some sort of discernment and leadership to the extent of the damage that the Gen Xers now are saddled with as a matter of routine, would be to indict the whole protest movement and 60s as a whole, and they just cannot bear to go there, out of fear and nostalgia, sentimental attachment to what they believe were their glorious moments of triumph and moralism.
But perhaps this refusal to address the gross and disproportionate, unintended damage wrought has precedence in history as well, you could tell this better than I. I will say that from the liberals I have met and interacted with in my lifetime, the liberals and radicals of the generation prior to the Boomers were much more respectful and tolerant of religious liberty, expression, culture and values, more astute, more genuinely interested in not just tolerating but promoting, even if they themselves were agnostic or adhered to a different view. So I think that is another aspect of the anger and frustration at Boomers that you haven’t perceived in your perusal of the phenomenon on blogs etc. The younger generation has been shamed, guilted, shoved, mandated and condescended to, and the truth hidden from them, not even entertained or appreciated or tolerated, from the Boomers (one sees this quite typically in academia but also in parish life) whereas the older generation of liberals and modernists did not force themselves and try to clench power at all costs and even were more thoughtful and free to examine issues on their own terms, unlike the Boomers who cling to the agenda no matter what statistics or evidence to the contrary one might present.
I appreciate your thoughtful comments here.
I have some comments to make, but I have a bus to catch. More, later.
Thank you Frs. McDonald and Z. Fr. McDonald for the topic. Fr. Z for a nice connection.
chicken: Thank you so very much for the history. It is so vitally needed and appreciated.
benedetta: “And surprised by joy in orthodoxy, what is a common theme one encounters is that the next process was a thorough self-education involving primary texts, catechism, encyclicals, daily Mass, learning to pray the rosary, writings of the saints, writings of Church fathers, and then finally looking to blogs and Catholic media.”
Thank you for a direction.
This is a mighty important discussion, and URGENTLY needed for us to make sense of it all. And to get it! Thank you all.
In this history, in this time in the Church, I am most grateful for realizing that the 4 parts of the Catechism of the Catholic Church…Faith…and 12 parts of the Creed, the Moral Life…10 Commandments, and Prayer…especially the Our Father…ALL fit nicely into the Liturgy and the Sacraments…the Ordinary means of Sanctifying Grace…especially when it is the Extraordinary Form of Mass, “The Most Beautiful Thing This Side of Heaven” (Fr. Faber). Before I got this, it was all just a mess. Convoluted. Made No Sense. (It still doesn’t make sense why the Baltimore Catechism was/is thought of with such disdain by so many Catholics/catholics.) It is such a very clear teaching of our Catholic faith.
The above discussion can lead us away from that horrible state of helplessness in our faith, to, for some of us, our previous state, and to others who have never known it, the peace and joy that can be found in the Church. The peace and joy She offers in the discipline and order She offers, always…since it is not She that leads us astray, but human beings who can and do as this post so adequately shows us by identifying the behaviors and errors of the past 40 or more years. As Fr. McDonald says and Fr. Z responds: “The progressive, liberal element of the Church since Vatican II has been a miserable failure for the Church, fragmented and lacking in common sense. [Do I hear an “Amen!”?] ”
I’d like to see Fr. McDonald’s indulgence “treasury” built up by putting up with all the nonsense over at Pray Tell blog…;)
“I will say that from the liberals I have met and interacted with in my lifetime, the liberals and radicals of the generation prior to the Boomers were much more respectful and tolerant of religious liberty, expression, culture and values, more astute, more genuinely interested in not just tolerating but promoting, even if they themselves were agnostic or adhered to a different view.”
The Liberal impulse was stunted immediately after WWII (rather, it went underground) for about a decade (the 1950’s were a Conservative’s delight). Most Liberals of the period were just as critical of the Church as today (and I have books written by them to prove it), but the manner of expression was more genteel because of the greater restraint of the larger culture.
You have got to understand how seriously messed up some of the youth of the 1960’s would become. This was not their fault. There was not only an unpopular war, but a televized war going on with an enemy – brutal and cunning – like nothing the U. S. soldier had seen, before. It destroyed the soul of a generation of young men. Even, today, talk to some who served in Vietnam and you will get a sense of the upheaval that war theater brought about in the American psyche. What could the young do? They were trapped in a war not of their own making. Some, protested. Some served. That sense of anger has defined the Baby Boom generation. How many of these, “Nuns-on-the-Bus,” would have actually become nuns if the man of their dreams had not been killed fighting in a war to which the United States was never committed to winning?
Then, there was The Pill. Nothing darkens the soul quite so fast as immoral sex without the thought of consequences. Most of the early users were not Catholic. That is an important point. It was the Protestants who jumped on the bandwagon – who had been jumping on the bandwagon since 1930. It is only when people have to look beyond sex, to take it out of the picture, that they can really get to know who their boyfriend or girlfriend really is. They must be courteous and kind to their possible future mate since, without The Pill. the possibility of pregnancy must be set in its proper place – only within marriage (prior to The Pill, extra marital sex was still seen as being, “dirty,” bringing about rejection from polite society) and “knowing” the individual meant knowing their heart and soul, since the Biblical “knowing” had to be postponed until it is a rational act.
How much influence in the aftermath (false implementation) of Vatican II did the Protestant observer’s opinion on contraception have? Quit a lot. The whole, “Follow your conscience,” mantra that emerged in the wake of the Pill’s adoption in 1965 (extended in 1972) was nothing more than the Protestant Principle of Private Interpretation (read: interpretation of one’s conscience) infiltrating into Catholic circles. It was a deviant appeal to ecumenism that allowed some Catholic theologians to borrow the arguments of their Protestant brethren on this subject.
Again, it was not the Baby Boomers’s fault that they were sold a load of poor or incomplete theology. They were trusting.
Where did that trust get them: killed, physically, by war and killed, morally, by mortal sin. Baby Boomers were, as a lot, no more angry than most other people in other times in history, but they were more threatened, culturally, physically, morally, than any other group in American history. No wonder they were angry and defensive as Hell. They still are. If you want to see a generation suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, look no further than the 60 year olds of today. I do object to the idea that the Baby Boomers were every really in control during this period. It was the wise and wicked 40 – 60 years olds in 1965 who were. If you want to know where the Nuns-on-the-Bus got so messed up, look there. They weren’t protesters who just found something else to protest. This is (and I must say that Fr. McDonald seems to be taken in by this) the fallacy of division: assuming that because protest was in the air of the day in the 1960’s that all acts of change were protests. The Nuns, back then, WERE trying to do what they thought the Church wanted. They were not protesting, but the Church was in such an upheaval at the time that it could not act to correct the Nun’s understanding of what it really wanted. If they had, no such thing would exist, today. Catholic, on-the-street, theology really didn’t solidify for the layman (I mean practical lay understanding) until the mid-1980’s.
it is true that some convents had nuns who were “converted” to Modernism in the course of their university theological training and, unfortunately, many of these became the big shots within their Orders, but the nuns in the pew really just were doing what they were told.
So, are modern Liberals just echos of the Protesters of the past? Not really. The ones, “in the know,” the one’s really accountable for the modern group of Liberalism in certain religious Orders are simply the Big Shots who got their way. The University-trained (not in theology) nuns who entered these Orders. for the most part, had the sense to see that all way not right and left. That is why their Orders shrank. They became breeding grounds of abusive control for the narcissistic Big Shots who knew better. It takes a lot of study to become a Modernist. No one would come to it on their own. It takes even more study to escape its clutches. Think of this not so much as protester as abusers. The analogy makes more sense.
Some within the Baby Boom years managed to escape the abuse of the period. I have seen many traditional-minded people in that age bracket – even the parents of many gen-Xers. Ultimately, this is not a matter of protest or protesters. Certainly, traditionalists have protested as much if not more than the liberals. In the end, it is a matter of control. Up until the present, liberals have been in control of the media -printing presses, music companies, etc. They have been able to squash dissent. With the rise of the Internet and alternative media, protesters – liberal and conservative – are finally reaching a parity.
It is this parity that made it possible for the youth of today to begin to re-assess the muddled ideas of the last 50 years. It will cause a revolution in its own way. You see, protesting can be a force for good or evil. The effects can only really be seen after the passage of a generation or two.
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Great post! I agree the progressive movement is cancer– at Church, at work, for Society. We newbies to the Faith need proper formation, not watered down fast food theology! IF I WANTED THAT I WOULD HAVE REMAINED PROTESTANT!