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Monday, December 5, 2011

Two Churches?

I am involved in a very spirited discussion at US Catholic; which has become very involved and has ebbed and flowed from the original point made by the writer.  I'll let you read the original post, but I'll post my response to him and then I will get on to my point....

Mr. Cones;

Pax et Bonum...I am speaking to you directly sir.  You ask is the Bishop of Covington out of his mind?  The answer is NO!

The Mass, contrary to popular belief, is dictated by law, not by feelings.  The rubrics are lawful and we, as Catholics, are obliged to follow them.  The Church speaks to us legally in two ways, Canon Law and Liturgical Law.  Does it sound too rigid?  Probably, but it is not in our privy to change that.  We simply must accept it.  Much like, we must stop at that random stop sign, even if we don't like it's presence in the middle of the country on a county road.

I also wonder if you know what participatio actuosa is?  Participatio actuosa is the full, conscious, and active participation that Vatican Council II talks about.  It is the interior application of the mind and soul to the Mass, through the laws which bind the Mass to mankind.  Please don't confuse that with Participatio Activa, which is the "doing stuff" type of participation.  The faithful are not called to "do stuff" at Mass, that is an extraordinary function based on necessity, not on some sort of right or charism.  The "stuff" is to be done by the priest, that is his role.  The role of the faithful is to worship, interiorly first and only then exteriorly in making the responses which are proper to them.

I know this whole concept seems backward and antiquated to you, but in reality, it is the consistent teaching of Holy Mother Church and it is the proper way to think about worship.  The true "spirit of Vatican Council II" isn't found in looking left and looking right at Holy Mass, it is by looking inward and offering those prayers and intentions up by placing them at the foot of the altar, so that the priest who celebrates the Mass may present them to God on our behalf.

Vatican Council II implores us to find the spirit of the law in the letter of the law.  We have laws which bind us to the Mass.  They are liturgical laws and they are better known as rubrics.  The Church is clear through  Vatican Council II and specifically in Sacrosanctum Concilium that "no one may add anything of his own accord to the sacred liturgy, even if he be a priest." (paraphrase SC #22.2)

May God Keep You close.

This was written in response to the notion that holding hands at the Our Father was desirable and that Bishop Foys was "out of his mind" for suggesting otherwise....

The conversation progressed and eventually this was made in response to me, which brings me to my overall point of this blog post today:

I'm sorry, Andy, but I felt just as Catholic, and maybe even more so, when I am praying the Novos Ordo than I did when praying the TLM.  But that could be because when I was praying the TLM I was a child.  Indeed, I identified myself as a Catholic much more with the post-VCII church than I did the pre-VCII Church. 

So much of this is perspective.  So much of this is experience.

I responded to her: There are two different Churches?  A pre-Vatican II Church and a post-Vatican II Church?  I was under the impression that Vatican Council II was the logical updating of the Church in the Modern World.  To speak of two Churches is to define your Ecclesiology.  This is a much bigger problem than just perception.  Perhaps you didn't mean to speak this way, but the sad fact is that you did.  This is the exact reason why there is a break in continuity (re: Pope Benedict XVI).  The Church did NOT change.  The fact that the Novus Ordo is considered the "flagship" of a post-Vatican II Church embodies the flawed and sad notion that the pre-Vatican II Church was somehow left behind in a sort of archive.

Clearly, the post-Vatican II Church has failed.  People my age (39) and younger don't want the post-Vatican II Church, we want the Catholic Church.  That is why since the loosening of the TLM in 1984, this aspect of the Church has grown exponentially, when the rest of the Church has been the fastest growing.  Do you know the two seminaries in the USA which are the fastest growing?  Our Lady of Guadalupe in Denton, NE and St. Thomas Aquinas in Winona, MN.  Both are traddy seminaries, while seminaries like St. Francis in Milwaukee, WI and St. Meinrad in Indiana are woefully empty.

I'm sorry ma'am, I can't agree with you.  The Novus Ordo has failed as an experiment and it has done nothing but make it easier for a Catholic to relate to a Protestant and that should never be the goal of Catholic worship.


This idea that there are two different Churches, one that is of antiquity and one that was created after Vatican Council II is not a rare idea.  This is a very common thought.  Have you ever noticed how people talk about the Church?  Listen next time.  I've resorted to discussing in this manner, often times, because it is the only way Catholics can relate, but there is no question in my mind, there is one Church.  It started with the beginning of time, it was made manifest as an entity with the giving of the keys to Peter.  The bottom line, there are not two Churches.  When you hear Pope Benedict speak of a hermeneutic of rupture (or discontinuity), this is of what he speaks.  The idea that the Church was somehow re-imagined or re-created with Vatican Council II is improper Ecclesiology.  The reality is that Vatican Council II was another Council among the history of Councils, it is unique in that it didn't proclaim any dogma or doctrine, but was purely pastoral.  This doesn't, though mean that there was a new Church created.  Please do all you can every day to be clear that the Ecclesiology of the early Church is the Ecclesiology of the Church today.  Even if it makes you unpopular with your pastor and others in your parish.  The Truth is the Truth.  The Catholic Church is One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic.

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