17 February 2014

The Church "Must Not Fear the Truth"-- Pope Leo XIII

The above quote ends the introductory and bibliographical section of The Second Vatican Council (an unwritten story), by Roberto de Mattei.  Yes, this is the same Roberto de Mattei that was sacked from Radio Maria for writing things contrary to today's zeitgeist.

This book is a must read for any serious Catholic who wants to make sense out of the council, its documents, the event of it, and its effect on us all.  Pick your hermeneutic, you will find much to inform, and much upon which to think.

I will be posting small (for me, anyway) excerpts from this book as I make my way through it*.  Today I begin.  I hope you enjoy the tour.  At times I might add my own emphases, but won't put any other commentary.  

Let's begin with Professor de Mattei's identification and description of that with which most readers are by now at least vaguely familiar:  the two rival "hermeneutics" (methods or theories of interpretation) of the council.  From the Introduction:


The debate about the Second Vatican Council, even in its complexity and in the articulation of the various positions, can be boiled down essentially to two lines of interpretation: the hermeneutic of "continuity" between the council and the preceding tradition, and the hermeneutic of "discontinuity" or "rupture" with the Church's past.  The first line of interpretation has been taken up by the ecclesiastical hierarchy since the pontificate of John Paul II and has been formulated with clarity and conviction by Benedict XVI, especially in his address to the Roman curia on December 22, 2005.  This is a theological approach to the Second Vatican Council, which is judged by the sixteen documents of unequal doctrinal value that it produced.  As a whole, these documents, according to the supreme authority of the Church, express a non-infallible yet authentic magisterium, which must be read in continuity with the documents that preceded it and that have followed it, in other words "in light of tradition."

Benedict XVI has returned many times to this topic... [...]The one way to make Vatican II credible-- Cardinal Ratzinger always maintained and Benedict XVI maintains today-- is to present it as part of the entire, unique tradition of the Church and of her faith.

The second line of interpretation takes a hermeneutical approach that is historical rather than theological.  It has its most significant expression in the so-called "School of Bologna" which, under the direction of Professor Giuseppe Alberigo, produced an impressive History of Vatican II, published in various languages, which, although controversial and debatable, constitutes an indispensable reference work.  For this school, Vatican II, apart from the documents that it produced, was in the first place an historical "event" which as such, meant an undeniable discontinuity with the past: it raised hopes, started polemics and debates, and in the final analysis inaugurated a new era.

An event is a situation that represents a radical break with the past, "a fact which, once it has happened, changes something in the present and in the future."[...] The council's identity is defined, from this perspective, not only by the institutional doctrinal documents and the canonical norms followed at the council, but above all by the actual unfolding of the assembly and by the reception of the event by the community of the faithful.

The thesis of "discontinuity" is advanced also in the so-called "traditionalist" world, which includes a wide range of dissimilar views.  The most important work to have appeared so far is the one by Professor Romano Amerio, Iota Unum, which is not situated on the historical level, however, but on the theological and above all on the philosophical level.  Although ignored by the progressive media, it too is an indispensable reference work.

* In this and in all other posts, I will be omitting footnotes.  There isn't space here, and this isn't a scholarly publication.  I wish merely to point out that the book is extensively researched and provides extensive documentation, all of which is patiently and thoroughly cited.  I encourage everyone to just buy the book and track down all the citations to your heart's content.


Marc said...

Mr. Timman,

I once heard that the way to read this book is with a rosary in one hand and a bottle of scotch in the other. Is this your assessment as well?


thetimman said...

I prefer bourbon, scotch is too Calvinistic.

But a good plan, nonetheless.

Barto of the Oratory said...

Once a husband and his sons have covered up the husband's infidelities with a 1,000 lies to the trusting, long-suffering wife, it is REALLY hard for the husband and his sons to suddenly reverse course and start telling the truth. The husband and sons, even on pragmatic grounds, may reason that the marriage bond and the family could no survive the truth about the recent past, even if the adulterous beddings have ceased. Yet, the "adulteration" of the truth by continuing cover up lies continues, so the dark reign of sin continues.

Every theologian in the Church who claims there is doctrinal continuity between pre-Vatican II and post-Vatican II is lying and they know it.

Pope Benedict XVI knows it. Karol Wojtyla knew it. Jorge Bergoglio knows it. Cardinal Burke knows it.

But what can they do now? How can Church prelates confess 50 years of doctrinal infidelity at the highest Church levels and still have a Church that survives?

We ARE in the darkest period EVER in Church history. Let us not worry about the decline of the USA nation--its always has its ups and downs. Just think of 1812-14 and 1861-65.

Worry about Christ's Church--it's NOT supposed to have ANY periods of doctrinal infidelity. Our situattion is unprecedented.

It is due to the courage of SSPX that anyone knows about this crisis--but even they have no solution to it, and even they are not protected from the lethal contagion of this infection running wild in the Church.

Don't blame and hate Jorge Bergoglio. He didn't create this crisis. He was not at the Council. He didn't even become a bishop until 1992! He just doesn't know what to do except stay the course with the lies about the poisonous Vatican II Council, in the hope that somehow all will be well.

But I don't know what the solution is either. I doubt anyone on this web site knows either.

All I know is the problem is doctrinal infidelity, not, as the optimists think, just a matter of liturgy or church discipline.

This is my opinion. Correct me if I'm wrong.

thetimman said...

You may call me an "integrist", but the problems with doctrine and liturgy are now, and always are, inextricably linked.

This is why it is so hard for well-meaning novus ordo attendees and traditional Mass attendees to make common cause.