Quick hits: tough talk about Vatican II and the aftermath
“Let’s be plain: the Church has been in schism since 1968, if not earlier,” writes Michael Pakaluk in a provocative essay for The Catholic Thing. His choice of the year 1968 is a reference to Humanae Vitae, and the widespread resistance to that encyclical. But the problem of dissent goes far beyond that issue, he explains:
Someone who believes that abortion is homicide in principle should be disposed to place his own life at the door of a clinic; someone who is merely “personally opposed” may be disposed to send SWAT teams to arrest this man. If Catholics are on both sides of such a divide, Catholics are in schism.
Nor is the problem confined to issues involving human life. Pakaluk reflects on the troubles the Church has encountered in the years since Vatican II. He concludes that “the aspirations of Vatican II were wrecked from the start by attacks on the Church’s members by the sexual revolution.”
In the National Catholic Register, Father Raymond de Souza provides a withering analysis of the latest step in the process leading up to the Synod on Synodality, the “continental” stage of preparation. That stage involved the production, by a small, hand-picked group, of a document that summarizes the challenges the Synod should confront.
Cardinal Mario Grech, the secretary-general of the Synod, told the members of that group: “We are the heart and ears of the Church, to hear the cry of the People of God.” Looking at their product, however, Father de Souza remarks: “The heart and ears may be in tip-top shape, but the brain seems to be a bit wobbly.”
The problem is not merely with the process that begot this summary, Father de Souza explains—although there are glaring problems with that process. His more serious charge is that the group, while claiming to respond to the mandate of Vatican II, completely overlooks the developments that have occurred since the Council, particularly under the long pontificate of St. John Paul II. This is no coincidence, he believes, but part of a troubling pattern: “The setting aside of John Paul’s papacy has become a hallmark of the Pope Francis synods.”
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