George Weigel as Postmodernist

15 07 2009

g_weigel

A post from the Vox Nova blog that I found both enlightening and amusing:

Weigel effectively theorizes towards a post-structural approach to Church literature; where we do not take authorship at face value but look into the power/knowledge relations that constitute the thing in question and assume that the (competing) motives involved are steeped in structurations of conflict that create the Foucauldian notion of “governmentality.”

It may seem too ironic, but Weigel is right precisely because he takes into account the possibility of the impossible. And he does so based on a largely accurate understanding of Church (and papal) authority: Namely, that, a hermeneutic of suspicion is not heterodox to Catholic devotion, on the contrary, a simplistic or superstitious reliance on the intervention of the Holy Spirit as the norm in Vatican affairs is not necessarily orthodox at all, in fact, it can be downright dangerous.

For me, such talk goes both ways. If Weigel can read encyclicals from the point of view of machinations of the Curia, I can read Vatican II from the point of view of the machinations of questionable theologians who usurped a mantle that was not theirs to take up. (Read the book, The Rhine Flows into the Tiber). To quote Dei Verbum as if it were “inspired by God” is sort of like quoting the script from Leave It to Beaver, except the latter is older and a lot clearer. The Vatican is not the bullhorn of the Holy Ghost.


Actions

Information

16 responses

23 07 2009
Death Bredon

The See of Antioch has a fascinating history. Presently, at least four (4) churches claim the ancient see and patriarchate — the Maronites, the (“Monophysite”) Syrian Orthodox, the Syrian Greek (Byzantine) Orthodox, and the (“Melkite”) Syrian Catholic Church (Damascus).

Additionally, the Chaldean Catholic Church (Assyrian “Uniates”) and the (“Nestorian”) Assyrian Church of the East have their roots in the ancient See.

In sum, Beirut, Damascus and Bagdad are at the cross roads of all the divisions of the apostolic Church.

The formal theological ground for the divisions in the See relate to the various positions taken by each church during and after the disputes regarding the proper Greek-language christological formularies of late antiquity. But, (1) Rome is in full communion with the Maronites and the Melkites; (2) The Melkites, the Old Syrians and the Greek Syrians have local intercommunion agreements; (3) all the churches accept the “Mongenes” (Only Begotten Son and Word of God . . . ) as a common christological formulation; and (4) Rome and the Assyrians have even produced a formal christological concordant!

23 07 2009
FrGregACCA

Yes, it is. It’s theology, however, is grounded in the ancient Antiochian school, from which came Nestorius (and St. John Chrysostom, among many others).

From what I’ve read/been told, Antioch is a fascinating place, with more Cathedrals per square inch than anywhere else in the world. The Patriarchs, however, who go with said cathedrals now all pretty much reside in Damascus.

But speaking of ancient Church history, if one were to rate a Council’s status (“ecumenical” or not) based upon the political machinations that were associated with it, Ephesus would have to go. Cyril was quite the operator; he would have made Machiavelli proud.

23 07 2009
Adrian

I think that’s the Assyrian Church of the East.

23 07 2009
Athanasius

Do you yourself deny that there were actually instances in Vatican II where teachings were, in fact, made subject to belief by the whole of the church always and everywhere?

I deny there was a further development of doctrine at Vatican II, because that is exactly what Bl. John XXIII and Pope Paul VI told us.

“The greatest concern of the Ecumenical Council is this: that the sacred deposit of Christian doctrine should be guarded and taught more efficaciously…. The salient point of this Council is not, therefore, a discussion of one article or another of the fundamental doctrine of the Church.”
-Pope John XXIII, Opening Speech to the Council, 11 October, 1962

“The magisterium of the Church did not wish to pronounce itself under the form of extraordinary dogmatic pronouncements.”
-Pope Paul VI, discourse closing Vatican II, 7 December, 1965

“Some ask what authority — what theological qualification — the Council had attached to its teachings, knowing that it has avoided solemn dogmatic definitions backed by the Church’s infallible teaching authority. The answer is familiar to those who remember the conciliar declaration of 6 March 1964, repeated on 16 November 1964. In view of the pastoral nature of the Council, it has avoided proclaiming in an extraordinary manner any dogma carrying the mark of infallibility.”
–Pope Paul VI, Audience of 12 January, 1966

What I am saying is that Vatican II, as a pastoral council, is not infallible because the Pope explicitly said otherwise. The council is part of the ordinary magisterium, which may be infallible, but is not per se. Thus if we find a contradiction in the council with previous doctrine, we can suspend our judgment on it or else withhold our assent until the Magisterium clarifies it.

23 07 2009
Athanasius

Is Antioch chopped liver?

No, they just except the teaching of Nestorius, condemned by the whole Church at the council of Ephesus. Sorry.

16 07 2009
Death Bredon

I think you are catching on!

16 07 2009
Visibilium

“If you want to strip away your religion of all innovations, how about going for Oriental Orthodoxy or the Assyrian Church of the East? Or maybe re-engineer an apocalyptic Jewish sect?”

Is Antioch chopped liver?

15 07 2009
Adrian

DB,

I don’t think Arturo does limit his skepticism to Vatican II and I don’t think he cares about those council-to-council continuities in the first place (at least I hope he doesn’t) so Eastern Orthodox polemicists pointing out the innovations of the First Vatican Council ought to leave him unfazed. If you want to strip away your religion of all innovations, how about going for Oriental Orthodoxy or the Assyrian Church of the East? Or maybe re-engineer an apocalyptic Jewish sect?

15 07 2009
samrocha

How, exactly, is my post at the expense of my dear friend ML Andrews’ brilliant rebuttal? If you read it that way, then, I fear you may have missed the point.

Plus, I did write this: Where Weigel might fall short of his intentions is that he never makes a convincing argument about the issues I assumed him to care about the most (economics, nation-states, environmentalism), he just dismisses that…”

15 07 2009
e.

Athanasius:

We are not required to hold to Vatican II as an article of faith, except where it taught those things the Church has always and everywhere believed. We are required by contrast to hold to the approved canons which meet the conditions of infallibility from prior councils because they are infallible and irreformable of themselves. That is a big difference.

Do you yourself deny that there were actually instances in Vatican II where teachings were, in fact, made subject to belief by the whole of the church always and everywhere?

15 07 2009
Michael

Ironic.

Not only has this post given credibility to Weigel’s fantasy about Caritas et Veritate (totally without basis (see ML Andrews post on the sheer implausiblity of George Weigel’s Story–a post that samrocha herein called a “first-rate rebuttal of Weigel”)). In fact, the present post (modern) now wishes to extend an added fantasy and then somehow undue Vatican II based on who participated in the writing of its documents (people like Benedict himself!). This more ultimate fantasy is simply opposed to the position of the church on Vatican II. Maybe instead of illusions that fit ones own world-view, a little humility toward the church might be in order. Better to have the bull-horn of the church than a whole lot of………..

15 07 2009
Athanasius

Just like anybody can practically read any other Church Council and view them simply as mere machinations of questionable theologians who likewise didst same; how remarkably (and quite ironically) Protestant, Arturo

Sed contra.

The ordinary magisterium is not infallible or irreformable in and of itself, but only in as much as it hands down prior teaching. If there is a serious contradiction, or a lack of clarity, the faithful have the right (I would argue the duty) to follow the prior teaching or at least suspend their judgment until the teaching can be sufficiently clarified. That doesn’t mean one bucks the authority of the Pope, but he should ask questions and even refuse assent when the contradiction is clear, such as in the case when John XXII, taught with his ordinary magisterial teaching that souls who die do not receive a particular judgment, but a general one only. The Parisian theologians respected the Pope’s authority, but wrote him and told him he was in error, and John XXII formed a commission to investigate the question, to which he later submitted.

When looking at prior councils, they teach ex cathedra when binding the faithful to their teaching and approved by the Pope, that is they are apart of the extraordinary magisterium. Paul VI explicitly said that nothing extraordinary (as in ex cathedra) occurred at Vatican II. Vatican II itself does not even command the faithful to accept its teaching. We are not required to hold to Vatican II as an article of faith, except where it taught those things the Church has always and everywhere believed. We are required by contrast to hold to the approved canons which meet the conditions of infallibility from prior councils because they are infallible and irreformable of themselves. That is a big difference.

Lastly, the Pope is not an extension of the Holy Ghost, and neither are the Bishops. They are prone to error. The Pope is prone to error, and Popes have in history taught incorrectly or allowed heresy to be taught. The Pope is only assisted by the Holy Ghost when speaking ex cathedra, and likewise the Church when she speaks such in an Ecumenical Council. The same goes for his temporal authority. Anything else is up for grabs so to speak. Thus it is perfectly legitimate to investigate the background of councils, and see what occurred and who engineered what. Cardinal Manning taught that when Pope’s make ex cathedra statements it is good to look at the investigative work which went behind it, the sources, and the rationale of the doctrine itself (History of the Vatican Council). If that is true of an ex cathedra document, how much more so a non-infallible pastoral council? The argument that you can’t question anything, you just must accept it is wholly unCatholic, and typical or protestant illusion of Catholics, famously illustrated in the game “Simon [Peter] says”.

15 07 2009
e.

I can read Vatican II from the point of view of the machinations of questionable theologians who usurped a mantle that was not theirs to take up.

Just like anybody can practically read any other Church Council and view them simply as mere machinations of questionable theologians who likewise didst same; how remarkably (and quite ironically) Protestant, Arturo.

15 07 2009
samrocha

Thanks for the kind link. “Dissent” has been monopolized by the Left for too long, now we finally get to see the self-proclaimed Right do it too. The point being: there is nothing necessarily heterodox about it.

15 07 2009
Rick

You know, Weigel may actually be doing us a service. If he keeps it up, he may actually assist in the deconstruction of Vatican II (and in its demise). If he reads Caritas in Veritate according to his lights, then I can dismiss Gaudium et spes, Ut unum sint, Unitatis Redintegratio, etc. Good all around.

15 07 2009
Death Bredon

Arturo,

Why is skepticism limited to VII? While I agree that Vatican I does not accord with what went before it, but the same is true for Vatican I, or, for that matter, any of Council after the Seventh.

DB

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s




%d bloggers like this: