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The Holy Catholic Church – the New Israel

October 8th, 2010, Promulgated by Gen

We have been asked by a loyal reader to discuss the problems of the Church before the Second Vatican Council. This topic really appeals to me, so I decided to accept the suggestion and put the following forth as a piece of consideration for you all.

The Catholic Church, in Her most serene beauty, is charged by God to be an example of holiness, to attract all people, all nations, to Her for Him. By our reverence, by our piety, by our Christian zeal, and by our loving charity we are all called, as members of the Church Universal, to be examples of sanctity. Just as Israel was God’s chosen nation, a nation which would unify all others through its worship of Him, we are now God’s people, charged with that same exact mission. We must, by virtue of our liturgy, our outreach, our service, and our devotion, be witnesses, at all times, for God and His Church.

This being said, the Church is led by and comprised of sinners. We are all tainted by sin, and we are none of us perfect. Just as Israel was not perfect, but still charged to serve God in a special way, so too are we. Fr. Barron recently put out a video along these same lines, applying it to the sex abuse scandal. We can just as readily apply this to what was going on in the Church that prompted the Second Vatican Council.

Now, to begin with, there are two separate (and unequal) notions we will discuss. One is the Second Vatican Council. One is the politically-tinged and spiritually-crooked implementation thereof. We cannot deny that the Council sought, at its beginning, to restore the sacred. In like fashion, we cannot deny that the Council’s documents have been stripped clean of any meaning by the would-be-reformers in our midst. There was the possibility, a God-given opportunity, to turn Vatican II into another Trent. The documents themselves make that clear. However, the self-serving demeanor of our fallen nature becomes apparent when we see how the bishops implemented the Council. We were given a ravishingly beautiful thing that men, in their arrogance, sought to make more “beautiful.” We cannot improve on what God has given us in the Mass, and to presume to be able to do so is to steer the ship of our dejected nature into the rocky waters of doom.

In the 1950’s, our seminaries were full. Our parishes were vibrant. Masses were, by and large, uniform throughout the world. Children knew their Catechism. Nuns wore their habits. Priests showed reverence in more ways than we can possible conceive of now. However, behind this beautiful exterior of Bing Crosby-esque Catholicity lurked a menacing thing indeed. There a demon in the shadows, striking many with utmost subtlety. That demon was apathy. It would seize priests and turn them into mere reciters of prayers they didn’t care to study. It would seize nuns, and make them forget the reasons that they took the habit. It would seize altar boys, and make them unaware of the august service they were offering Our Lord in His dwelling place. It would seize holy mothers, who looked the part of a good Catholic, but who really lacked the faintest awareness of what the Mass really was. It would seize fathers, who instilled in their children the sense of indifference. Oh, go to Mass every Sunday, yes, but that’s just an obligation. It seized choirs and scholas, and made them unexcited to praise God in sacred song. It seized almost everyone, in one way or another. It is this apathy that the Second Vatican Council sought to address.

When Pope John XXIII called the Council, he did not know that it would open the doors for the things it did. I’m sure we have all heard the anecdotes about his dying words, “Stop the Council.” The Church, as the new Israel, can make mistakes. However, it can also bring so much good from them that it bears witness to the Divine. The goal was to address this apathy, but what happened was a morphing of it. We went from nuns forgetting their original charisms to nuns making up their own. We went from priests not understanding the Latin to priests declaring open war against Tradition. We went from scholas not taking joy in Gregorian Chant to scholas ceasing to exist because bishops permitted sacrilegious folk Masses, rock Masses, and “community” Masses wherein “everybody’s a priest.” This is not the work of the Holy Spirit. This is the work of Satan, using his demon of apathy. The apathy now rests in those who see these abuses in the Mass, who encounter heresy and dissent, and do nothing whatsoever to counter them. The prophets of the Old Testament saw what was happening to Israel – invasions, profanations of the Temple, heterodox priests – and preached the Word of God to anyone who would listen.

Vatican II wanted to instill in the Church a zeal for Her Tradition, not a hatred of it. Among the things which the Council did NOT decree are 1. communion in the hand, 2. altar girls, 3. total abolition of Latin, 4. total abolition of Gregorian Chant, 5. priest facing the congregation, 6. lay administrators, and scores of things which are so common in Rochester and beyond. These things were manipulated from the texts of the Council documents, and implemented against the will of Rome. What good is it to be a “Catholic” if you refuse to be “catholic”? Doing your own thing is not “One.” It is not “Catholic.” And it is certainly not “Apostolic.” It may be “Holy,” but there is nothing more “Holy” than humble obedience to the Church and Her Divine Founder. We bend the knee to God – not the other way around.

Yes, there were problems before the Second Vatican Council, genuine problems which were detrimental to the long-term survival of the Church. We truly did need a breath of fresh air, but we need to realize that this “breath” was supposed to come from God, not liberal bishops seeking to promote their own schismatic agendas. If the documents of the Council are accurately read without bias, you will see that nothing in them points to how things are now in the “Status Quo Church.” Either you’re doing the right thing or you’re not. There’s no “kinda sorta.” You practice Catholicism. You don’t manipulate it like some toy or craft project to make it your own.

The Church, as had been said by Pope Benedict and numerous other theologians, will get smaller before it gets bigger. It will hurt. It will make Our Lord Himself weep to see His Mystical Bride treated with scorn and contempt by those who are ordained to serve Her. But then, after a generation or two, the Church will be pure. Just as Israel was persistently punished for transgressions against God, so too do we see the fruits of disobedience. There’s no mistake there. God does not permit Himself to be mocked. And so, considering all this, we need to realize that there will always be problems in the Church – it is led by mortals. We must also realize that the Council itself was not an evil instrument of destruction. The evil comes from the inappropriate implementation across the globe. We must also realize that the problems we encounter in the Church are not signs that God has abandoned us, but that we have abandoned Him through our sacrilege.

Pray for the Church. Pray for Her bishops and priests. Pray for those who profess to love Her, but whose actions demonstrate only a love for self.

Our Lady, Help of Christians, pray for us!

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4 Responses to “The Holy Catholic Church – the New Israel”

  1. avatar Christopher says:

    I was doing a little research on this as well and I agree with you that apathy was a core problem of the church before V2. To use some more specific examples of this apathy and other issues from Bro. Ignatius Mary, OMSM(r), L.Th.


    One such structural change was the revision of the Divine Office. Many abuses had creeped into the practice of the Divine Office and its structure was too complicated for laity to really participate. Thus, the post-conciliar documents made revisions to bring the Divine Office back to its original intent to sanctify the various hours of the day (some priests before had gotten into the habit of saying the Hours all at one time instead of throughout the day), and the structure was simplified to make access to the Divine Office easier for the laity. The Council Fathers also instructed with words, “are to see to it” which seems like and “order” to me, that priests make sure Vespers, at least on Sunday, was made available to the Laity. Few, if any, parishes follow that directive.

    There were also many abuses in the Liturgy of the Mass that go back decades before Vatican II. The lack of participation, (i.e., acolytes repeating the responses FOR the people), needed to be changed to bring the congregation back to their proper place of active participation in the Mass. There was also unnecessary redundancies in the Tridentine Mass. The Vatican II Father’s recommendation was to remove unnecessary repetition and to restore to the Mass prayer even “more ancient and traditional” than what the Tridentine Mass contained.

    In addition, the world’s bishops faced tremendous challenges driven by political, social, economic, and technological change, especially as the 1960’s emerged. The Church had to discuss ways to address those challenges.
    ” – http://en.allexperts.com/q/Catholics-955/Vatican-II-4.htm

    I also learned a lot about Vatican 2 from listening to a few debates on Sedevacantism such as this one where Sungenis destroys Lane. However, Lane will make you think a bit about Vatican II issues which is sort of fascinating in it’s own right how he construes things.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bJJX123tIwA&feature=related

  2. avatar Dr. K says:

    “There were also many abuses in the Liturgy of the Mass that go back decades before Vatican II. The lack of participation, (i.e., acolytes repeating the responses FOR the people), needed to be changed to bring the congregation back to their proper place of active participation in the Mass.”

    I wouldn’t refer to the above as an abuse. Do not forget that the Missa Recitata/Dialogue Mass was in use years before the Council.

    There was also unnecessary redundancies in the Tridentine Mass.

    I will always disagree with this. I don’t feel there was anything unnecessary in the Latin Mass. The loss of the prayers at the foot of the altar and the former words of consecration are great disappointments. The slightly longer Kyrie is also not redundant.

  3. avatar Gen says:

    There is nothing whatsoever wrong about praising God. Heaven forbid that Mass actually last 10 minutes longer because of a more complex ritual . . .

  4. avatar snowshoes says:

    What a powerful reflection on the continuity of the Church! Thank you, Gen. You rightly identify apathy as a “root sin” through which many others can creep in. I resolve to use this in my examination of conscience. Of course the opposite of apathy is empathy, first with Our Lord, in His life, His suffering and death, and in His resurrection and ascension and His life with the Father and the Holy Spirit. If I can live constantly recollected, the normal Catholic life in the Mass and Holy Communion, the sacrament of Reconciliation and living the virtues, always seeking the Father’s Will in my daily life, and loving my family and friends, I can always overcome that tendency to apathy. As St-Jean Marie Vianney says, When you sense your fervor waning, immediately make an act of faith and love. Thank you very much!

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