Monday, August 29, 2005

Benedict XVI and Vatican II

The second thing is that there was quite a significant difference between what the Fathers wanted and what was conveyed to the public and then became fixed in the general consciousness. The Fathers wanted to update the faith -- but this was precisely in order to present it with its full impact. Instead, the impression increasingly gained hold that reform consisted in simply jettisoning ballast, in making it easier for ourselves. Reform thus seemed really to consist, not in a radicalization of faith, but in any kind of dilution of the faith.However, we increasingly see that choosing the right form of simplifying, concentrating on and deepening the essentials is not simply a matter of lightening loads, adapting, and making concessions. In other words, there are basically two concepts of reform. The first concept has more to do with renouncing external power and external factors, in order to live all the more by faith. The other consists in making history more comfortable, to caricature this approach somewhat. And then things go awry, of course.
Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI)in an interview with Pete Seewalt,The Salt of the Earth

Julie D. at Happy Catholic shares this choice bit and more about Pope B XVI’s thoughts on what happened to the reforms of Vatican II. As one who “came of age,” theologically speaking, during that time, I remember much confusion over what the changes meant. Many of those who were teaching and writing at the time saw VII as a return to the fundamentals of the Church. And there was a great emphasis, at least initially, at returning to what Christ and the Apostles actually said. My home parish hired a lay theologian who held classes on The Documents of Vatican II and Bible Studies became more common and increasingly important, at the adult level (through parish-sponsored adult classes) and at the youth level (in our religion and CCD classes). Now that the Mass was in English, we could hear the Word of the Lord in both the Old and the New Testaments. There was less rote memorization of what we believed and a greater emphasis on why. Gone was the certainty of the Aquinian-based Baltimore Catechism, that was supposed to equip us with the answers to any questions a non-Catholic might ask us about our faith. We were invited and encouraged to make the Catholic faith our own. To many that meant, unfortunately, make the Catholic Church into our image and likeness, rather than taking the Truths of the Catholic Church into our hearts.

It’s that silly pendulum thing that we humans all seem to do—one side, then another, always passing through the midpoint. I think the Holy Spirit is bringing us back to center, through JPII and BXVI.