To Hell In A Handbasket: Part Deux

“The Church has been going to Hell in a handbasket ever since Pius XII foolishly allowed ‘progress’ to creep into Holy Mother Church. Next we had Vatican II, and heresy run rampant in the fields of the Lord. Oh, that we would repent and go back to the Latin Mass.”

So wrote a fellow on a website this week. (Not exactly, but I have abbreviated and condensed his other arguments, which were stated much more eloquently than in my precis.)

And Julius II led armies in the field, and Alexander set up his bastard Cesare to dominate the Italian Peninsula. I doubt if you would wish to go back to those days, my Tridentine friend.

Trent was as big a Reform as Vatican II. Before Trent, Holy Mother Church had become the whore of Europe. (Protestantism did not erupt in a vacuum). The reforms were needed and good. But along the way, the Faithful, with the Clergy, tended to forget being a Christian is not about Rules, but about a Relationship with Christ. Vatican II was to correct that error. Regrettably, many misinterpreted what V2 was about. The Popes since Paul VI have been working to correct that misunderstanding as best they can.

For myself, I go along with the Magisterium, and do not want to set myself up in opposition. That is not meant as a slam at your position, for I also perceive many things which should never have happened. But one cannot really select any particular time and place, or mode of Catholic culture, and say, Thus Far, and No Further. It undermines the fact that when one has arrived “thus far”, there was a journey from somewhere else. If not, the Church went into error as soon as the Apostles stepped out of Peter’s boat on the Galilee.

My point is, much as I can honestly sympathize with your angst, there is no way to freeze the Church in a particular time and culture. Nor should we wish to.

And many things are more of “taste” than of dogma. I am fond of Organ Masses, especially when the organist is good at Bach. My wife likes Guitar Masses. No Big Deal. Either one can help get your heart in the right place to Receive.

The Trendies and the Traddies both think the Church is all about Rules. Traddies want to double down on them, at least, on the Old Ones; and the Trendies want to abolish as much of the Rules as possible. Neither speaks to the real nature of the Church, as the Bride of Christ.

Much as I am (also) pained by the foolish excess that resulted from a misinterpretation of Vatican II, the reforms were every much as needed as those of Trent. Because the Church, embodied in the Faithful, had hung up on Rules, and had forgotten it was a Relationship with Christ that counts.

One can keep all the Rules, and still not know Christ.

My friend, do not despair.

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