Vatican II and the new Catholic ethos

15 03 2010

I am a bit perplexed as to how some can treat the Church as if it existed as some ethereal institution that defies the laws and logic of human action. For even if something was done for one reason (according to them), we must assume that it was done for another; even if things were one way at one point, we must pretend that change was not really change. It all must fit together perfectly because all of it is the work of the Holy Ghost. To say otherwise is an attack on the indefectibilty of the Church, and the sacred nature of the Mystical Body of Christ on earth.

I have always considered this to be a common but still grave error. That is why posts like this one on the restoration of permanent deacons in the Roman Church are very much needed to put things in perspective. This type of essay demonstrates the tremendous inconsistency with which today’s Catholic tends to treat the Second Vatican Council and ecclesial governance that has emerged since then. It is indicative of the old axiom that Catholics have a great understanding of tradition but a poor understanding of history. For even those who would defend the Second Vatican Council as the sine qua non of orthodoxy really don’t see that what was really at the heart of it all (even in its most official manifestation) was a spirit of freedom and innovation. Any attempt to bind together the ethos of the pre-conciliar Church and the post-conciliar Church can look woefully inconsistent. The bishops, the priests, and the rest of the “people of God” were given their “freedom”, but now have to be dictated to by the Vatican as to how they should exercise it.
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