Monday, May 24, 2010

Is liberal Catholicism dead?

One can only hope. Some good points despite the all too common sloppy journalism in the MSM when the topic is religion. Try to ignore the rather glaring factual errors.
The liberal rebellion in American Catholicism has dogged Benedict and his predecessors since the Second Vatican Council of 1962-65. "Vatican II," which overhauled much of Catholic teaching and ritual, had a revolutionary impact on the Church as a whole. It enabled people to hear the Mass in their own languages; embraced the principle of religious freedom; rejected anti-Semitism; and permitted Catholic scholars to grapple with modernity.

But Vatican II meant even more to a generation of devout but restless young people in the U.S. Rather than a course correction, Terrence Tilley, now head of the Fordham University's theology department, wrote recently, his generation perceived "an interruption of history, a divine typhoon that left only the keel and structure of the church unchanged." They discerned in the Council a call to greater church democracy, and an assertion of individual conscience that could stand up to the authority of even the Pope. So, they battled the Vatican's birth-control ban, its rejection of female priests and insistence on celibacy, and its authoritarianism.

Rome pushed back, and the ensuing struggle defined a movement, whose icons included peace activist Fr. Daniel Berrigan, feminist Sister Joan Chittister, and sociologist/author Fr. Andrew Greeley. Its perspectives were covered in The National Catholic Reporter, Commonweal and America. Martin Sheen held down Hollywood, and the movement even boasted its own cheesy singing act: the St. Louis Jesuits. The reformers' premier membership organization was Call to Action, but their influence was felt at the highest reaches of the American Church, as sympathetic American bishops passed left-leaning statements on nuclear weapons and economic justice. Remarks Tilley, "For a couple of generations, progressivism was an [important] way to be Catholic."

Then he adds, "But I think the end of an era is here."
Read the rest here.


Anonymous said...'d like 1950's Catholicism? The Catholicism before Vatican II?

I'm always curious as to why there's this deep contradiction involved with Orthodox of a certain stripe, ( i.e; converts), who wish a separaton and no reunion with a Church of before 1960 and also the same situation with a Church after 1960.

Neither situation pleases them.

John (Ad Orientem) said...

Neither the pre-Vat II church nor the one now around is Orthodox. But we knew what the pre-Vat II church was about. There was clarity. And there was much more in common with it than with the silliness we see in the modern reformed church.

Woodrow said...

"But I think the end of an era is here."

One intensely hopes so. I'd much prefer the era end with all the "progressives" repenting of and mending their ways and beliefs rather than dying off, but let whatever may happen happen.

Patricius said...

In theory at any rate, Vatican II did much good to ''renew'' Catholicism, which in the 1950s was in such a state of Ultramontane and liturgical chaos that, were I born in 1948 rather than 1988, I too would have welcomed the ''spirit'' of Vatican II. Communion under both kinds, the restoration of the permanent diaconate and a Sacramental concelebration are noteworthy points (although all of these things are in most places not done properly).

Unfortunately the Roman Liturgy had for centuries been so far removed from a proper tradition that attempts at ''reform'' by recourse to Papal authority (an abuse and heresy in my opinion, and I am sure the Orthodox think the same) were always ham-fisted and were just indications of a cultural and liturgical decadence. This goes back much farther than Vatican II, Pius XII and Pius X. Even beyond Trent...There had been for centuries a gradual loss of liturgical sense in the West, which curiously the Orthodox had not lost.

Unfortunately, now ''traditionalist'' organisations in the Catholic Church have the monopoly over ''traditional'' Liturgy. My blog is a two-fingered gesture to those organisations. Take Western Liturgy out of the hands of Trads and place it (perhaps) into the hands of liturgically-minded Westerners and the Orthodox and just sit back and enjoy the genuine renewal of the West. That is the hope at any rate...