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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Vatican II and Catholic Double-Mindedness

According to Roman Catholic Bishop Walker Nickless of Iowa it is time for Roman Catholics to be single-minded, at least in his Diocese. He states that, “we have sometimes lost sight of who we are and what we believe, and therefore have little to offer the world that so desperately needs the Gospel.”

Tim Drake has this to say:

Quoting from Pope Benedict XVI’s address to the Roman Curia in December, 2005, Bishop Nickless draws attention to the two contrary hermeneutics that arose from the Council – one which caused confusion (‘a hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture’), and the other which has borne fruit (‘hermeneutic of reform’).

“The hermeneutic of discontinuity risks ending in a split between the pre-conciliar Church and the post-conciliar Church,” said Pope Benedict.

Bishop Nickless says that these two rival interpretations have weakened the Church’s identity and mission.

The consequence, says Bishop Nickless, has been a sort of dualism – “an either/or mentality and insistence in various areas of the Church’s life: either fidelity to doctrine or social justice work, either Latin or English, either personal conscience or the authority of the Church, either chant or contemporary music, either tradition or progress, either liturgy or popular piety, either conservative or liberal, either Mass or Adoration, either the Magisterium or theologians, either ecumenism or evangelization, either rubrics or personalization, either the Baltimore Catechism or ‘experience,’”…

For a clear example of this type of dualistic thinking, read through America magazine’s “Confessions of a Modern Nun,” by Ilia Delio. There, quoting Dominican Timothy Radcliffe, Delio describes American nuns as being either Concilium Catholics or Communio Catholics.

“Members of the Leadership Conference embrace modernity and the work of the council as the Holy Spirit breathing new life in the church,” writes Delio. “They fall under what Father Radcliffe identifies as the Concilium group, who focus on the Incarnation as the central point of renewal. Members of the Conference of Major Superiors, by contrast, are Communio Catholics, who emphasize communion through proclamation of the faith, a clear Catholic identity and the centrality of the cross. Members of the Conference of Major Superiors, by contrast, are Communio Catholics, who emphasize communion through proclamation of the faith, a clear Catholic identity and the centrality of the cross. (Concilium and Communio are the names of two periodicals founded in the postconciliar era. The first stressed conciliar reforms; the second stressed the continuity of the council documents with the community of the faithful through past centuries.) Thus, one group focuses on doxology and adoration (Communio), the other on practice and experience (Concilium). One sees Christ as gathering people into community (Communio); the other sees Christ as traversing boundaries (Concilium). The C.M.S.W.R. recently held its eucharistic congress under the title “Sacrifice of Enduring Love,” while the L.C.W.R. continues to work on systemic change. The former sees religious life as divine espousal with Christ; the latter sees Christ in solidarity with the poor and justice for the oppressed.”

“There can be no split, however, between the Church and her faith before and after the Council,” writes Bishop Nickless. “We must stop speaking of the ‘Pre-Vatican II’ and ‘Post-Vatican II’ Church, and stop seeing various characteristics of the Church as ‘pre’ and ‘post’ Vatican II. Only the ‘hermeneutic of reform,’ he says, is valid and “has borne and is bearing fruit.”

Read it all here.

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