Saturday, April 28, 2012

A Life through 6 Papacies 2: Pope John XXIII: Updated with comment

I chose this video clip because the Byrds hit song perfectly evokes for me the atmosphere of the 1960s. It was all about peace and justice, CND and 'If I had a hammer'.. I don't like the text that accompanies the clip because it seems to hijack Pope John for its own agenda and to characterise him in a narrow way.. To say that the Council he initiated has 'guided', the Church to the present day, is to me a misuse of that verb, unless you take guidance  as leading to confusion and conflict, which the Church herself is still struggling to heal.

Of course the trouble with a series like this is that one has to separate what one felt and believed at the time, from what one KNOWS now. In all conscience one has to admit that pre-conciliar Catholics were not well informed. They had no reason not to trust the Church. Most of us had to rely on the 'Universe'; the 'Catholic Herald' was not widely read and in the 60s the 'Tablet' was generally regarded as the priest's preserve. The result was that in England at any rate Catholics to whom 'obedience' was second nature, could do nothing but go along with the changes. All I can say is that there must have been many modernists lurking in sacrisities and side-chapels who merely kept quiet until they saw their opportunity. They must have been very clever because I can honestly say that in the pre-council days I saw no hint in my parish that priests or people were longing for the changes that came inexorably and quite brutally as the decade neared its close.

To me it seemed that the minute I was received, the Church began to dismantle herself. She seemed to have taken leave of her sense of psychology which I had always admired in her.. It certainly didn't feel like 'remewal' to me. It just felt as if things were going badly wrong. And Blessed John XXIII notwithstanding., I'm afraid that they did.

At least now, thanks to the internet, and as long as it serves us, no pressure group within the Church will be able to 'pull the wool'  unchallenged ever again.

Apparently Blessed John XXIII is quoted as saying that he didn't want collaborators; he wanted executors. Well, he was granted his wish in probably the most agonised Pope of the six under discussion here, namely Papa Montini...


umblepie said...

Thanks again for this post, Jane. I agree particularly with two points you raise, first - 'in England at any rate, obedience was second nature to Catholics', and second - 'changes that came inexorably and quite brutally'.
This latter factor - the changes, were only accepted because 'obedient Catholics' assumed it was their 'duty' under obedience, to accept them. They were unaware that most of the imposed changes were not in accordance with the spirit of Vatican 2, but were being imposed by a powerful group of modernist, 'liberal' churchmen in positions of influence, who imposed their modernist 'interpretation' of the Council; an interpretation which was wrong. Hence spiritual disaster.

Jane said...

Yes, that is absolutely as I understand it. A grim business altogether! I do think the internet has helped though.

God bless,

A Catholic Comes Home said...

Well,as you know Jane my experience was similar to yours.I knew nothing of liberals or modernists.All I knew was that the things that I had been taught were true one or two years previously,were not so true after all.Hard to swallow for me...hard for many, many people.I think peoples anguish at that time, has been underestimated...there were many like you and me.

Anonymous said...

Could not agree more. I was educated in Catholic Schools to the age of 18. I studied and taught abroad in R. C. establishments,taught in Catholic schools in England. All before Vatican 2. I never remember hearing the slightest hint of disagreement with the Church's teachings or practice from priests, nuns or teachers in all those years. What followed 1964
was for me, a complete shock, a real test of Faith which has continued to today. Thank God there is a bit of light at the end of the tunnel. One of the biggest betrayals has been by clergy and religious (nuns especially) who suddenly decided that what they had
freely chosen as their way of life
was now to be discarded like an old coat.

Hugh said...

Pope John XXIII was traditional to the core where Sacred Tradition was concerned. he was succeeded by liberal modernist papacies. This is where the damage was done. His preparation for The Councils was exact and took three years to achieve. It was ther liberals who hijacked The Councils trashing his work in the process.

Genty said...

To my shame I left Mother Church in 1975 for 20 years when I could stand no more wreckovers of churches, sanctuaries, liturgy. There seemed to be no place I could go for a reverent Mass.
I kept in touch with St. Anthony and so it was that one happy day when I was visiting him near the door of a church, I heard a Latin Mass being celebrated. Not an EF, mind, but better than anything I had last witnessed. It was to this church that I came back to the faith.
All that time in the wilderness I thought I was alone in my reactions to nuChurch which appeared to have sundered itself from the Catholic faith I had grown up with.
Only now with the internet do I realise that the emptiness and pain were not mine alone. But even though they were shared others, to their credit, remained more faithful than I.