Vatican II

Recollections of a World That Is No More

There are fewer than ten years separating the ages of my wife and me, a difference hardly worth mentioning in a marriage of more than thirty years.  Yet the distance between the two worlds we grew up in, the forces that shaped the cultural and religious horizons of our two lives, remains so vastly different [...]

The Jesuit, Pope Francis, and the Poor

Since the first Jesuit pope’s election earlier this year, the words "poverty" and "the poor" have acquired fresh resonance inside and outside the Catholic Church. Of course the Catholic Church has always devoted special attention to the materially poor and otherwise suffering. And with Pope Francis, one senses he is the real deal regarding poverty. [...]

The Hero of the Mighty Musical Struggle

Several years ago, I received a note from an older man who had been battling much of his life for good Church music, particularly Gregorian chant. He did this in terrible times following the Second Vatican Council when the cultural ethos warred against any settled liturgical forms. He had plenty of scars to show for [...]

Should the U.S. be a Catholic Society?

At the close of the Second Vatican Council, Paul VI noted that the Council had displayed an unparalleled desire “to know, to draw near to, to understand, to penetrate, serve and evangelize the society in which she lives.” That desire reflected a constant goal of the Church, to make her message effective by bringing it to men [...]

Assessing Vatican II: A Response to My Critics

It’s ironic to me that my recent article, "Fifty Years Later—Vatican II's Unfinished Business," has provoked anger among many traditionalists, because for most of my priesthood I have angered liberals who consider me an arch traditionalist. Nevertheless I want to respond to those traditionalists who include both the SSPX and my fellow Catholics still fully [...]

Fifty Years Later–Vatican II’s Unfinished Business

Fifty years after the opening of the Second Vatican Council, the Church in the United States is in the throes of a struggle. Loyal Catholics are showing renewed vigor and vitality, and are helping the Church to move forward in unity. At the same time, the Church is also being exhausted and drained from within [...]

The “Balancing Act” of Karl Rahner and Luise Rinser

The Jesuit theologian Karl Rahner (1904-1984) was known as a “progressive” and, during the papacy of Pius XII, was required to submit his writings for approval before publication, but in 1962 was reinstated and appointed as one of the periti for Vatican II by John XXIII. During the Council he was very influential among German [...]

Pope Francis: Reform in the Footsteps of St. Pius V

Unknowingly, my family had a sneak preview of the results of the recent Conclave. During the week prior, my one year old son, Austin, kept going up to our bookshelf and pulling off a particular book, no matter where it was shelved. My wife, Anne, beginning to wonder why this was happening, decided to look [...]

Veritatis Splendor: The Encyclical that Mattered

There are papal encyclicals, and then there are papal encyclicals. Some escape public attention almost from the moment they’re promulgated. Others continue reverberating inside the Church decades after they appear. But there’s also a third type of encyclical: those which assume truly civilizational significance. This year marks the twentieth anniversary of one document that falls [...]

Following the Bad Council of the Media

Speaking to the clergy of Rome in one of his last speeches as pope, Benedict XVI acknowledged the ruinous influence that the media has exercised over the Church for decades.  He referred to the spurious spirit of Vatican II as the “council of the media.” What he didn’t mention was that plenty of clergy enthusiastically [...]

Catholicism, True Reform and the Next Pope

Given the contempt with which some people regard Catholicism these days, it’s extraordinary just how badly the very same individuals want everyone else to hear their views of the Church’s future. Plainly there’s something about this 2000 year-old faith that truly bothers them. How else can one explain the tsunami of unsolicited advice from pop [...]

Running From Hell: Thoughts on Love and Sin

Running from hell is a lousy way to approach God. This seemed to be the consensus of many post-Vatican II Catholics who saw the pre-Vatican II era as a generation beholden to the fear of sin and subject to rules drawing sharp lines over which a good Catholic did not cross. As a high school [...]

Tyranny of the Extroverts, In Church and Out

Jung’s theory of extroversion/introversion in his book, Psychological Types, may be the one holdover from the era of “analytic psychology” and classical psychoanalysis which has actually had a practical effect on contemporary psychology and culture.  I think especially of the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator (MBTI) test based on Jung’s book. The test, various versions of [...]

Why Catholics Should Oppose Security, Efficiency, and Liberal “Rights” as the Nation’s Highest Social Values

The Church favors peace, and her basic concern—leading men to God—is not specifically political. For that reason, her approach to politics has generally been irenic. She urges the faithful to obey the law, respect the powers that be, and interpret motives in a favorable light. She offers criticism at times, since she has her own [...]

The Irony of ’60s “Liberation”: The Age of Aquarius Ushers in a Ruling Class of “Experts”

It has been half a century since the inauguration of John F. Kennedy and the opening of the Second Vatican Council began the period we call the Sixties. Those were heady times. In America there would be a New Frontier, in the Church a new springtime and even a new Pentecost. The windows of the [...]

Irony of Ironies: Vatican II Triumphs Over Moribund Modernity

Few expressions are better guaranteed to spark passionate debates among Catholics today than two words: “Vatican II.” Though most Catholics today were born after the Council closed in 1965, the fiftieth anniversary of the Council’s 1962 opening on 11 October this year will surely reignite the usual controversies about its significance. Much discussion will undoubtedly [...]

Ecumenism and Other Novel Interpretations

Since Vatican II, the Catholic Church has been turned upside down in the name of an ecumenical council whose true interpretation continues to be debated more than half a century after it closed. One point of contention is the Council’s teaching on religious liberty. In his 1864 encyclical Quanta Cura, Pope Pius IX labeled as [...]

Biblical Illiteracy and Bible Babel

One of the disappointments of the post-Vatican II period has been the glacial pace of the growth in Catholic biblical literacy the Council hoped to inspire.  Why the slow-down? Several reasons suggest themselves. The hegemony of the historical-critical method of biblical study has taught two generations of Catholics that the Bible is too complicated for [...]

Is It Back to Nuns with Rulers?

One of the things I have always found most delightful about the Catholic Church is nuns. Protestants have fearsome and holy women, but they don’t have nuns. There is something feisty and admirable about a nun. Especially a nun with a ruler. How the whining ex Catholics love to whimper about the hatchet faced nuns [...]

Cardinal Dolan and the New Evangelization

The irrepressibly effervescent personality of Cardinal Timothy Dolan may tempt some to think of the archbishop of New York and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops as the latest in a line of glad-handing Irish-American prelates, long on blarney and short on depth. Succumbing to that temptation would be a very serious mistake. [...]

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