Vatican II was a failure

15 01 2020

When I say, “Vatican II was a failure,” I mean that it was a failure on its own terms. Not that it failed to pass on “Apostolic Tradition,” or it didn’t go far enough in its reforms. In my opinion, Vatican II was about holiness, particularly holiness of the laity. It was an attempted democratization of holiness. I will not elaborate too much on this to keep this short, but all of the current problems with the Catholic Church stem from this failure.

Holiness in its most basic component means to be set apart. Christianity began as an initiatory religion. To be baptized was really an initiation, it was another birth, a social and spiritual death that is a prelude to physical death. It is akin to diksa initiation in Vedic tradition. As baptism became more of an essential rite to be grafted onto the body politic, the bar had to be considerably lowered for being a Christian, and the monastic / cleric was deemed to be the model for the “real Christian” who actually lived out the letter of the Gospel as written.

That was fine, but it ended up producing a broader Church among the laity and secular clergy where much was not expected from anyone. It was enough for the people to be pious when called upon, to receive the sacraments at assigned intervals, and to not rise up against authority, sacred or secular. Keep the laity away from the Eucharist and mysticism, as these were too high of things for them. To fail to do so would lead to disaster.

As the Church had been in slow motion collapse since 1789, Vatican II was an attempt to treat everyone “as adults”: coercion and social pressure could no longer keep people in the pews and religious in the convents / monasteries. People had to be “holy” as a free choice. They had to set themselves apart without any of the broader societal pressures to conform.

So hence, we have a crisis as to whether “lower the bar,” or rather admit that the lowered bar is actually holiness, or we have to keep the bar where it is and let most people fall below it. But the idea that everyone will just rise to the occasion and be a saint, that’s not happening, no matter how many “regular” people you canonize as positive examples. That’s why some are so vocal about the course of the Church now, but really, you can never generalize the old standard of holiness to apply to most in the Church, nor can you just de facto canonize everyone, which by far is what is happening in most cases as far as I can tell. You get the Participation Trophy just for showing up, but I don’t think anyone thinks it means anything.


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4 responses

22 01 2020
slumlord

The laity outsourced religion to a religious elite for good reason: because it’s hard work they don’t want to do.

I think that the “outsourcing” of religion is one of the reasons we have so many problems now.

18 01 2020
cal

Athenian democracy produced actual democrats because the reforms to the city’s constitution forced (literally, many low-tier offices were chosen by lot, and refusal got you penalties) regular people to take up offices, run things, be public figures, etc. which then produced a sense of responsibility of competency. There are not a few examples of how lived experience is what grounds the sense of things.

The idea that most people want to go home and watch TV at the end of a shift is realistic, but not a natural or essential property of human inertia. Vatican II wanted to be a goofball mix, and that’s why you have Fr. Radtrad raging about Susan from the Parish Council, and the vast majority of people yawning. Maybe the real black pill is that Rome won’t be Rome if it would be something other than it is, but V2 wasn’t about that, but “opening windows” and doing some interior decorating.

18 01 2020
Iamblichus

Slumlord,

I think that person’s faith in the laity is endearing, but not entirely realistic. As in politics, people don’t want to change the world, they just want to go home after their shift and spend time with their families. The laity outsourced religion to a religious elite for good reason: because it’s hard work they don’t want to do. As with politics: people would rather not think about the roads or national defense, they just want those things to be there. The laity want a place to go to church (those who like going to church, anyway) and certainly a place to baptize their kids and bury their parents, etc. And a divine shoulder to cry on when things go south… here I am not being cynical, I’m being realistic.

I love saints and elaborate rituals as much as the next Internet gadfly, but you can’t expect the same love from “regular people”. And honestly, it would be tremendously disordered for a “normal” person with a family to be obsessed with “churchy” things: that can only mean their neglect of their own secular duties and possibly is an excuse to avoid addressing emotional and psychological problems. I have seen examples of this many times, as I am sure you have. So no, the laity aren’t going to lead a reform of the Church, and if they do, it’ll fizzle out into something far worse than what we have now. I’m willing to put money on it.

15 01 2020
slumlord

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