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Friday, January 23, 2009

Vatican 2 - Did it help or hurt the Church?

I have a good friend that is a devoted catholic and we had a conversation the other day. He stated that he doesn't believe that Vatican 2 helped the church, but rather hurt the church very much. He stated that he didn't even believe that Vatican 2 was legitimate and didn't feel that he should follow any, or at least some of the directives.
He felt very angered by what he perceived as the liberalism of the church and felt that the church had abandoned much of the beautiful traditions that it once exhibited.
I informed him that if he abandoned Vatican 2, and started picking and choosing parts of the church that he would obied by, and others he would ignore, he wouldn't be much different than a protestant! I didn't mean to make him upset, but I think I might of hit a nerve. Sorry!
I have been pondering his comments for sometime now.
I have come to the realization that many people in the catholic faith who feel upset with Vatican 2, really aren't upset with Vatican 2, but rather the liberalized translation of Vatican 2. Many in the Church used Vatican 2 as a catalyst for implementing their own agendas. These agendas were not a part of Vatican 2, but many common church goers had attributed these behaviors and approaches to be of "Vatican 2" when that really isn't true.
So when I hear that a catholic feels that Vatican 2 was all wrong, I must remind myself, they really don't mean what was truly expressed in the council, but what they perceive to be directed by the council.
When a major change happens in the church, it isn't uncommon for the pendulum to swing drastically in the opposite direction, only to swing back in time, and then rest comfortably in the middle.
I believe we are now in an era of the pendulum swinging back (from inappropriate liberalism back to traditionalism) and then to rest in a comfortable middle, yet still orthodox.
Vatican 2 just so happened to be in an era of complete unrest in the American Culture, with the exhibition of free love, the destruction of morality, and complete disrespect for authority.
We still have many clergy who are active in the church, many are Bishops, Theologians, and Pastors, who were being formed at that time and are now leaders in the church.
However, they are soon to retire and a new generation of clergy (one of which I am) who were not part of that generation, and have a much stronger sense of orthodoxy, will replace them as the leaders. The scale will be balanced soon.
My spiritual director who is in his 80's and much wiser that I will ever be, stated that any major change in the church takes at least 100 years to be completely understood and implemented correctly.
Vatican 2 was held in the middle of the 1960's, we still have 60 years to get it right.
My Catholic friend who is appalled at what he sees in the church today, and blames Vatican 2, really isn't so much seeing Vatican 2 as he is looking at the results of a generation that had gone out of control, and specific individuals who used the opportunity to implement some changes that really had nothing to do with Vatican 2.
As we grow to understand "Vatican 2" in more depth, and the generation of Church leadership who, through no fault of the own, being a product of an era that had promoted a widespread deterioration of tradition, respect, and morality, will eventually retire, will be replaced by the new generation of catholic clergy who have a deep desire and respect for tradition, orthodoxy, and respect for so much of the church that was never meant to be removed.
Don't get me wrong, the clergy that I speak of as the "aging clergy," is not meant to be a blanket statement, nor a statement of judgement, they are still wonderful and holy people, and have and will continue to teach us much. But it is a reality, the comments that I have mentioned, are true.
Why do you think that the religious orders that are flourishing, bursting at the seems, are the orders that promote the wearing of habits, traditional formation, and orthodoxy? It is because that is what the newer generations desire. They can see that is where God is for this generation. Orthodoxy feeds the souls of this newer generation and seems to be replicating itself is the proceeding generations.
The orders that promote liberalism are almost extinct..... Where you don't see nun's in habits, you literally don't see any nun's. We have an order based out of Northern California, that most would consider progressive and liberal, has most of their nun's in their 70's and 80's without any or at least very few new recruits. I would suspect that this order will disappear, or at least go through a drastic revision.
Rest assured my fellow catholics, it will not be long, although 100 years is short in the catholic church, and the pendulum with rest just where God had desired it to rest, and our faith will continue to be the guiding light to this world........

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