It’s happening, exactly as I have been saying for years.

At The Catholic Thing today there is a piece by Michael Pakaluk, “Is Vatican II ‘Spent’?

My immediate answer is, yes.  It was “spent” almost as soon as it ended.  It is “time bound” and not very “evergreen”.  Bits of it are evergreen, of course, as when it deals with perennial truths, such as why the Lord came into this world (GS 22), how Mary is the Mediatrix of grace (LG 62), and “full, conscious and active participation” in sacred worship is desirable (SC 14), etc.

What does Pakaluk say?

Honesty might seem to require us to say that the Council is now a dead letter: Or better to say, not that it is dead, but that it has achieved whatever it could achieve.

After the “Vatican II is valid” blah blah, he makes the point that a “pastoral Council” (whatever that is), is practical as well as limited by the extent to which it is received.    Frankly, very few people have paid attention to what the Council really said over the last almost 60 years, though a lot of rubbish has been undertaken in the name of the Council.


the teaching of the Council lacked incisiveness apart from a firm adherence to certain key ideas that were clarified, rather, in JP II’s encyclicals.


We need another Council that diagnoses, indeed, but also anathematizes, brings to an end an implicit schism by drawing lines as to who belongs and who does not.

I got to that line and shuddered a bit.  A new Council… NOW?   Heck no.  My blood runs cold at the thought of today’s bishop’s meeting about anything more than then their lunch orders.

That said… yes, we need proper diagnoses, clarity about some issues.  A Council?  Think about what a magnificent success the last few Synods have been.  Get back to me.  I’ll wait.

We do need to move forward regarding the Second Vatican Council.  Important?  Yes.  More important than other Councils?  Well… the wreckage wreaked in its wake has been monumental in important spheres of the Church’s life.   Important?  Sure.  It is one Council in a chain of many.  It looms large in our view because it is the one closest to us.  It is, however, hardly one of the more important Councils.

So, let’s move forward, not by forgetting the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council but by putting it in its proper place, as somewhat bound to a context that no longer applies (the early 1960’s) and taking it at its word: it’s a pastoral Council (whatever that means) that did not intend to define doctrines, etc.   And results varied.

That said, there are progressivists out there who view Vatican II as if it were the be all and end all of all Councils, a super-dogma (even though it defined no new dogma.. formally), through which all liturgy, law and doctrine (Cult, Code and Creed) must be REinterpreted.  Some of these are so dogmatic in their view of the superness of Vatican II that they are close to not even being our co-religionists.  They have, in effect, put their view of Vatican II into their modernist blender and a golden calf came out.

If you don’t have it, get it through my amazon link!

Remember what Ratzinger wrote in Spirit of the Liturgy about the golden calf in the context of immanentism?  They wanted a religion that was easy.  Hence, all that old stuff about propitiation and transcendence has to go.   Hence, the ironically titled Traditionis custodes.  If there was ever a joke in the title of a document, this would be it.

Moving forward in this post, look at the piece in First Things by Clement J. Harrold (a junior research fellow at the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology – think, Scott Hahn), “Tradismatic Trentecostalism”.

Those of you who have been reading this blog for a while know my prediction about the future.  As the demographic sink-hole keeps evacuating large swathes of self-identifying Catholics… and catholicsunder the sands never to be seen darkening the door of a church again, there will be a smaller, more intense church comprised of committed Catholics who, out of necessity, will band together.  I foresee a time when more charismatic types, along with converts from Evangelical communities, will fuse together with Catholic traditionalists.  There will be frictions for a while, but the fusions will be awesome, as a greater attention to Scripture, the gifts of the Spirit and works of mercy are undergirded by traditional sacred worship.  I believe that the magnet which will draw and bind them and blend them will be the Traditional Latin Mass, notwithstanding the vicious and pusillanimous attacks on it – and on the people want it – by craven, weathervane watching prelates.

As a matter of fact, the charismatic, Evangelical, trad conjunction is already taking place.  Talk to young people who are committed to the Faith.  It is happening.

The First Things piece focuses on Steubenville, which had strong charismatic renewal connections at its origin.  Over time there increased also an orientation to “tradition”.

As graduate student ­Maria Therese remarked: “Franciscan exemplifies the reality that tradition and charism are not opposed to each other but are fundamental pillars which build up the Church.” For my part, I am a student of the Latin language and see great beauty in the ancient rite, though I typically attend the Novus Ordo and routinely listen to praise and worship music, much of it written by Evangelical Protestants.

In a Church where 70 percent of the faithful no longer believe in the Real Presence, legitimate ­differences between charismatics and “trads” pale in comparison to the differences that separate orthodoxy from heterodoxy. Faithful Catholics of all stripes increasingly find themselves allies against the common foe of a corrupt Church and a post-­Christian world. In the words of Jacob, a recent graduate now studying for the priesthood, “it is primarily the youth who are working through the false dichotomy of charismatic and traditional divisions in the Church.” The “tradismatic” spirituality found within the student body of Franciscan is a vibrant synthesis, one that modern Catholicism ought to prize.

Yet this synthesisis ­unwelcome in some quarters. Some in the episcopacy view the movement toward greater reverence and tradition with alarm and disdain. Pope Francis’s recent motu proprio Traditionis Custodes, which attempts to restrict severely the celebration of the Latin Mass, betrays this sentiment. Nostalgic for their vision of the 1970s Church, the Holy Father’s advisors cannot seem to understand either the charismatic zeal or the love of tradition that characterize many of today’s Catholic youth.

Frankly, what the “advisors” see terrifies of them because – as it may be – they are no longer true believers. What they see makes them feel guilty for their loss of faith.  So they attack it… no.. they attack the people who obviously do believe and are ready to stand up for their Faith, who want something that isn’t watered down with buzz words to the point of insipidity.

Tradismatics, Tradicals, ­Trentecostals, Born Again Catholics: These are what the Church of tomorrow will be made up of,…

Exactly what I have been saying for years now.

And it is happening, exactly as I have been saying for years now.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Pingback: It’s happening, exactly as I have been saying for years. – Via Nova Media

  2. Not says:

    Thank you Father Z., I so agree with you. In the past I have quoted Fr. Trinchard who years ago said we need Trent II, problem is after all these years and the current state of the Hierarchy it would be a disaster.
    My prayer is that when we have the next Conclave, the Holy Ghost will give us a Holy Traditional Pope, Papal Tiara and all. A Pope who will waste no time in abolishing the Novus Ordo. “By your fruits you shall know them.” VaticanII and the Novus Ordo have given us 60 year old dried rotten fruit, scandal, empty churches, seminaries and convents , Eucharistic ministers, (only to be used if the Priest is infirm and distribution of communion would take unusually long.) Vat.II., altar girls, female lectors etc. etc. etc.

  3. Dave P. says:

    IIRC, Fr Rutler said it best: Vatican II will be assessed correctly when it is seen as a Council instead of being the Council.

  4. misanthrope says:

    Ah, need to be careful with this comment…..

    Many years ago, raising and homeschooling six children, my wife and I were looking like-minded orthodox Catholics, and landed on a charismatic home church group. Great, solid, Catholics; but…..

    Attended the first Mass for all the local home church communities. After distribution of the Eucharist came the swelling murmur of those inspired to ‘speak in tongues as moved by the Spirit’. I caught my wife looking sideways for my reaction, knowing my thoughts on this…she saw the set jaw and malignant glare for which I am apparently well known.

    I persisted – for the company of the wonderful families and my wife’s needs. We had twice monthly family get-togethers with prayer and meals and conversation with great friends. Oh, and really bad music/praise. And the monthly Masses. Ah, those Masses. Somewhat humorously, our departure from the community was triggered by my wife, when at the last Mass we attended folks started to ‘dance’ (writhe?) during the murmuring. On the way out my wife said ‘That’s it – we are done’. We still count the families as great friends, and they ARE solid Catholics (and none of them were dancing either…).

    Interestingly, when we started attending TLM, there wasn’t much support from those families – we were now part of the fringe; adherents to a dead liturgy in a dead language. It isn’t that they didn’t approve exactly; but they saw no future in our path. Headshaking and discreet glances our way. Still friends – but now we were rather ‘curious’ friends.

    The healing Masses with laying on of hands, the abysmal ‘songs’ – I am spared hearing bad evangelical worship songs and ‘Eagle’s Wings’ (look, I’m a snob when it comes to Church music – guilty as charged), and I don’t try to introduce chant to the murmuring after Communion. A fair swap.

    My father – raised southern Baptist and a stalwart convert to the Faith – related his sole experience at a tent revival as a child. He was ok until the congregation started jumping and waving and ‘writhing’ en masse, and he shot into the aisle headed for the exit. He looked over his shoulder to find his father following on his heals. Neither ever went to another revival.

    This is only my experience, and it’s limited (and dated). And again – I met many great people of amazing faith living heroic lives in a bitter world. All that said, there are features of the charismatic movement – again in my experience – that I cannot at this point get ‘past’. And not much love for TLM; tolerance at best. Perhaps things have changed; I will watch with great interest.

    [From what I have heard, the charismatic community is growing up.]

  5. WVC says:

    I read the same article, and when I got to the same point almost yelled “Hell No” out loud. A new Council? That’s flat out crazy talk.

    The best thing that could possibly happen is that all communications with Rome are completely severed for about 20 years (due to some sort of disruption in the space/time continuum). The rest of the Church will soldier on, the actual faithful young will grow to adulthood, the masses of the lukewarm will thin (either by losing all heat or realizing their faith is actually important enough to take seriously), and bishops would be stuck having to actually be shepherds and not “yes men” careerists.

    Sure – there will be battles and squabbles and even a few heresies, and maybe they can be decided via open combat again (ala the Albigensiens). All perfectly normal and human stuff that we can easily deal with – not this demonic mist of non-truths and demoralizing half-measures that billows out of the Vatican like a storm surge from a Cat 5 hurricane.

    Then, after the space-time bubble lifts and Rome is once again accessible to the world, whatever few old men of the Spirit of Vatican II flavor aren’t (FINALLY!!!) passed on to their eternal reward will encounter a healthy young Church that will be much more difficult to boss around and manipulate.

    Ah, if I could just be Universal Galactic Space Time Lord for a day . . .

  6. JT says:

    A priest I know has said the same thing, the Church in the future will be smaller but more faithful.

    Jesus, save souls.

  7. timothyturtle says:

    I was raised as a middle of the road Baptist, but spent 10 years at a little country Pentecostal church before entering the Catholic Church in 2003. I saw a lot of strange things ( to a Baptist) while with the Pentecostals and looking back they seem to be caught in a perpetual adolescence. Many wonderful people though that took their faith very seriously. I still enjoy (out side of Mass) some of the better praise music which was mostly sacred scripture set to a catchy tune and repeated over and over (what can be wrong with that). As I have learned the Catholic faith I have become more attracted to the TLM and attend it as often as possible. The NO mass seems to be lacking a unifying principle around which it could ever be reformed into something adequate to convey the Faith to future generations. When it is done well (especially ad orientem) it is OK but not the equal of the TLM.

  8. Phil Lawler at Catholic Culture on Pakaluk’s article:

    “But the final paragraph of Pakaluk’s essay brought me up short, when I read my friend’s conclusion that ‘we need a new Council.’ My first reaction was sheer horror. A new Council now—in an era of unprecedented confusion? … ‘No, no, no!’ I thought. But just two sentences later, my opposite softened, as I realized that Pakaluk must be thinking of a Council that we need, but probably cannot have, until some measure of clarity is restored. Or, better, a Council that we could have, if a critical mass of the world’s bishops agreed with the premise that clarity must be restored.”

    That Council, which perhaps would be imprudent now, may become possible faster than we think as the next generation of bishops rises to leadership. The next generation– those who are clearly more orthodox than their predecessors– will coalesce into that critical mass. And the further to the left they go now, the further to the right will be the reaction when its time comes.

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  10. summorumpontificum777 says:

    It seems to me that, prior to the current pontificate, the Church was indeed heading in the direction of “smaller but more faithful.” However, over the past nine years, a school of thought pushing an alternative future has gained the upper hand, at least in Rome. That alternative is a Church that seeks to retain the sympathies of the wider culture by conforming itself to said culture. In other words, there’s an element of the upper echelon of the hierarchy that believes that the Church’s shrinking size is mainly due to the wider population being alienated by the Church’s allegedly outdated views on gender, marriage and sexuality. Once the Church jettisons its retrograde views, a new ecclesiastical springtime and relevance will emerge. Such is the mentality behind the disastrous proposals that the Katholische Kirche Deutschland is pushing (women priestesses, LGBT marriage, out-and-proud LGBT clergy, etc.). Of course, this strategy has already been tried by liberal protestant sects and have resulted in institutional suicide (i.e., “smaller and LESS faithful”) . We can’t discount the possibility of such a near-to-medium-term future for the Catholic Church if the German approach is adopted.

  11. JamesF-J says:

    Nothing dates and fades quite as fast as being ‘modern’ – look at old sci-fi films, look at 1960s Habitat type furniture, look at fashion – you can date it practically to the month, never mind the year. Vatican II, and more particularly the Novus Ordo now looks as dated as the Mini Moke and the miniskirt. Its no wonder my generation and younger are drawn to the timeless, the perennial old rite – never out of fashion because never ‘in fashion’. The hippie generation are fading out – we only have to hang on for another 10 years or so – less than a blink in the life of the church

  12. Lurker 59 says:

    If one really wants to see how much VII is a product of it’s time, the document to read is Inter Mirifica. IM isn’t the odd duck, it is just the document that, due to the subject matter, is stripped the most from theological language and, therefore, shows the philosophical currents of the Council the most.

  13. jflare29 says:

    After Summorum Pontificum, I’d thought we’d need another 100 years or so before we could reintegrate the two forms of the Mass back into one. We’d need that long to restore the routine understanding of the traditional norms to the Church before that could work. Now, ….it’s going to take all the longer because the routine understanding of the traditional rite has been so badly clipped.
    Years ago, a reporter had inquired of Benedict if he felt he ought convoke a new Council, to have Vatican III. Benedict surprised many when he indicated that he felt we needed to properly implement Vatican II.
    Given what the Council explicitly requested be done, which has not happened, and given what HAS happened which the Council never even hinted about, I think he was right.

  14. pjthom81 says:

    A modest proposal to bring peace to the liturgy wars (it will not be implemented under this pontificate surely). In the interest of gravitational pull would it be possible to view the Novus Ordo as an alternative to the low mass, but to require at least one high mass at parishes per Sunday and Holy Day? Perhaps it can help with reintegration.

  15. GregB says:

    The “spirit of Vatican II” is pretty much DIY Catholicism. The “spirit of Vatican II” advocates have done as much as anyone to delegitimize Vatican II. With friends like these who need enemies?

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