It strikes me that relative newcomer around the Holy See Press sector, listed as CNA‘s “senior Rome correspondent” – which as I get older strikes me as amusing – Hannah Brockhaus should rethink her priorities.
Francis had an audience with a bunch of editors of European Jesuit journals – imagine what that was like. In the Vatican News piece relating what was exchanged in their Q&A there are some 2400 words. The section Hannah chose to report on is 188 words of the whole. La Civilità Cattolica HERE. What was her game? Click-bait?
The topic: Francis criticized, belittled, “restauratori”, “restorers who do not accept Vatican II”.
According the Francis, …
Q: What signs of spiritual renewal do you see in the Church? Do you see any? Are there signs of new, fresh life?
FRANCIS: It is very difficult to see a spiritual renewal using very old-fashioned schemes. [Is that what he was asked?] We need to renew our way of seeing reality, of evaluating it. In the European Church I see more renewal in the spontaneous things that are being born: movements, groups, new bishops who remember that there is a Council behind them. [Like in Germany?] Because the Council that some pastors remember best is that of Trent. [And why would that be?] And what I’m saying is not nonsense. [Oh… my….]
Restorationism has come to gag the Council. [1!] The number of groups of “restorers” – for example, in the United States there are so many – is impressive. An Argentine bishop told me that he had been asked to administer a diocese that had fallen into the hands of these “restorers”. [Given Francis’ disdain for Americans and the United States, you would think that he knows that Argentina and the United States are sort of far from each other.] They had never accepted the Council. [2!] There are ideas, behaviors that arise from a restorationism that basically did not accept the Council. [3! Say it again, until people believe it.] The problem is precisely this: that in some contexts the Council has not yet been accepted. [4!] It is also true that it takes a century for a council to take root. We still have forty years to make it take root, then!
To MAKE IT take root.
That’s one way to do things. If it doesn’t work, force it.
One thing I do know is that Francis doesn’t have 4o years. I suspect he knows that and so he is… what?… dominated by the idea of these “restorationists”? Whoever they are! Are “restorationists” the boogey-men hiding under the bed?
QUAERITUR: Do those who want traditional liturgical worship and solid preaching really want things as they were before the Council?
No, I don’t think so. For the most part, they want clear teaching from the Church and reverent worship. They find that the old ways appeal more, work better, and are, therefore, their preference. They have seen that the new ways are hardly recognizable as Catholic sometimes and they don’t prefer them.
QUAERITUR: Why would some pastors remember Trent better than Vatican II?
Just a couple thoughts on that.
Why accept the premise? Maybe pastors know Vatican II quite well! They have not forgotten Vatican II, which they had to study in seminary and which they have heard of ad nauseam ever since. It could be that Vatican II just wasn’t as important in the long run, in the history of Councils, and, though they remember it, they have other things to worry about.
QUAERITUR: Could be it that when you read what the Council of Trent produced, it is clear? The human mind, especially well-trained, is better proportioned to clarity than it is to foggy. The documents of Vatican II, while they have moments of clarity, as when they cite previous Councils, get a little dreamy and ambiguous.
No. This is a straw man.
There are some people who really hate the Second Vatican Council. I am not sure that they know why they do. There are others who resist what the Second Vatican Council’s documents say and suggest because they sense – on the basis of pretty good arguments – that they are imbued with modernism, in particulars and in an overarching way. Some parrot this, others can articulate exactly what they mean with citations and arguments. They resist certain things in the Council, while admitting that it was a real Council.
Others… okay, we can play this game forever. There are always more wrinkles.
This is a straw man. There is no homogeneous group as Francis describes. It’s fantasy.
What is clear, however, is that if you want “those people”, those “restorationists” to come on side, it might be better to stop treating them like trash, even if you think they are trash. It’s neither smart nor pastoral. As a matter of fact, in places like the United States, where there are (apparently) many restorationists and where there is a demographic sink hole opening up under the church gobbling up those imbued with the last 60 years of Vatican II… it’s kind of stupid to treat them like trash, because they are going to be the only ones left.
Back to the Q&A with Francis and the Jesuits.
After he said what I fisked, above, Francis added comments about how wonderful the late Jesuit leader Fr. Arupe was. Then he said:
A Jesuit from the province of Loyola was particularly aggressive toward Fr. Arrupe. He was sent to various places and even to Argentina, and always made trouble. He once said to me: “You are someone who understands nothing. But the real culprits are Fr. Arrupe and Fr. Calvez. The happiest day of my life will be when I see them hanging from the gallows in St. Peter’s Square.” [NB:] Why am I telling you this story? To make you understand what the post-conciliar period was like. This is happening again, especially with the traditionalists. That is why it is important to save these figures who defended the Council and fidelity to the pope. We must return to Arrupe: he is a light from that moment that illuminates us all. It was he who rediscovered the Spiritual Exercises as a source, freeing himself from the rigid formulations of the Epitome Instituti, the expression of a closed, rigid thinking, more instructive-ascetical than mystical.
I can’t help but think of a caudillo talking about opposition.
BTW… Arupe was the first General of the Jesuits to RESIGN instead of remaining in office until he died. He resigned and St. John Paul II – whose magisterium someone seems determined to obscure – appointed Paolo Dezza as General over Arupe’s vice general.
Arupe could be a personification of the 60s-70s for Francis, a halcyon age.
The Civiltà version has a footnote about the Epitome Instituti (consider the source, of course – Spadaro): “a kind of practical summary in use in the Society and formulated in the 20th century, which was seen as a substitute for the Constitutions. Jesuit formation in the Society for a time was shaped by this text to such an extent that some never read the Constitutions, which are the foundational text. For the pope during this period in the Society the rules risked overwhelming the spirit.”
Some insight is gained from this about whom Francis thinks “restorationists” to be.
Here’s a problem.
Vatican II was one among many Councils. Some of them were far more important in the history of the Church that Vatican II. However, today some people (Francis?) have reduced Vatican II to a new Epitome Instituti. It is the be all and end all for them. However, there remains the whole gamut of the Church’s Councils and history.
Vatican II must be read with all other Council and not against all other Councils. Certainly not instead of other Council.
What the team, the New Red Guard, around Francis want to do is turn Vatican II into the sole-hermeneutical principle through which the entirety of the Church, her doctrine, practices, laws, liturgy, are to be – must be – must be made to be – reinterpreted.
Never forget this when you hear certain figures in Francis’ orbit talk about the Second Vatican Council.
Meanwhile, I just read elsewhere that when Francis was faced with an accusation of being pro-Putin he responded:
“Someone may say to me at this point: so you are pro-Putin! No, I am not. It would be simplistic and wrong to say such a thing. I am simply against reducing complexity to the distinction between good guys and bad guys.”