Tuesday, December 13, 2011
We have moved on
I am a Catholic, I not a Concilliarist. I occassionally take a cheap shot at Orthodox friends by accusing them of being trapped by the Spirit of Ephesus II. My problem with Councils is the whole "the Spirit of " business. The Spirit of any Council is not its teaching, perhaps only now are we getting to grips with the "Spirit of Trent". The difficulty with Vatican II is that its teaching wasn't contained in a few short memorable canons which defined the faith but in dense and sometimes contradictory documents, written within the highly nuanced obscure philosophical terms of the period. In order to unlock its richness one has to understand that philosophy. At the same time Vatican II happened within the Spirit of Vatican I, with its highly ultramontane and authoritarian concept of the Curia. As someone once said of the Council Fathers, "You have to remember some of these men were the friends of Salazar and Franco, the majority were not imprisoned under Hitler and Mussolini", I think he meant they were compliant.
The Orthodox understand Councils by how they are taken up by the Church - something akin to Newman's understanding of sensus fidelium. We do that of course but we also have the singular role of Peter's successor in interpretation and identification of the Magisterium. The Council happened we have moved on, we moved on to the great documents of Paul VI: Humanae Vitae, the Credo of the People of God , Populorum Progressio, Indulgentiarium Doctrina etc. and the Encyclicals of JPII and Benedict XVI, including the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
Indeed the last half century has been an attempt by successive Popes to clarify the teaching of the Council.
The Tabet blog, which I have just discovered, is bashing Bishop Davies for saying that faith has not been passed on in recent generations. Sr Gemma Simmonds of Heythrop says in gushing terms. "The greatest gift to our time is the enduring legacy of the Council [VII], the most authoritative gathering of the Church on earth." I would like to debate with her what she meant by "authoritative".
She then goes on to deny a principle teaching of the Council, that the liturgy "is the source and summit of the Church's life", by saying, "Going to Mass on Sunday is certainly a way to express and nourish faith, but it is not the fullness of faith, which is something that has to be lived in the context of the ordinary in solidarity with all that is good and true and beautiful in our world." I tend to agree with someone who comments on this post and reminds Sister that in Jesus Christ we encounter the fullness of faith.
For me Sister and the commenter who speaks disdainfully of "the Institutional Church", as if Christ found a Church without Apostolic leadership, seem to encapsulate a way of understand VII that praises it as concept yet denies its teaching.
Posted by Fr Ray Blake