As Exciting as Vatican II!!

I have heard or read a number of people say that Pope Francis’ actions are as exciting as Vatican II. Or they “haven’t had this much hope since Vatican II.” Or Pope Francis is living in “the Spirit of Vatican II.” Or some other such thing.

My first reaction to this was, “really?” That seems like a bit of an overstatement.

I mean- I like the guy, I really do. And I think it’s quite possible that he’s just the Pope the Church needs right now. But… gosh- As exciting as Vatican II?

Pope Francis believes the same things as his predecessors, leads the same Church, celebrates the same sacraments. He is at odds with the world’s philosophy in the same way as have been those who went before him. He is at odds with those human-corrupted elements within the Church which are opposed to the true Gospel of Christ, just as those who went before him have been.

The conservatives that are currently upset will eventually realize that he preaches the same Gospel as did those who came before him. Upon learning this, they will either gratefully accept him and his leadership, or else it will be made clear that “conservative” is not synonymous with “orthodoxy.”

The liberals that are currently thrilled will eventually realize that he preaches the same Gospel as did those who came before him. Upon learning this, they will either reject him as backward-thinking, or else it will be made clear that “liberal” is not synonymous with “heretic.”

There is, of course, a change in style and a change in emphasis. But highlighting one sentence in your text book as opposed to another doesn’t change the content. Neither does a different typeface or cover design.

Papal liturgies may go from six candles to two candles, from Latin to Italian, from fiddle-backs to Gothic. The essential theological content will remain unchanged, and the miracle will be just as effective. It may be that some people find the liturgy to be less personally nourishing, while others find it to be more so.

Some people will complain that there are too many changes. Other people will complain that there aren’t enough. Some people will latch on to something that hasn’t changed at all and tell everyone how different it is. Some people will find something that is drastically different and proclaim for all to hear that it has always been thus. People will be excited by things they only imagine. Truly exciting developments will go completely unnoticed.

All of this will continue to be reported by a media that knows nothing about the Church, and skews every report with the combined lenses of secular agenda, ignorance, and entertainment value. Otherwise sane and reasonable people within the Church will, for reasons that defy all common sense, believe the secular media’s portrayal, and even help to shape it. This will continue to lead to misplaced outrage and misplaced glee.

He will say a lot of amazing and radical things, and the most amazing thing will be that they have been said before, over and over, for two thousand years. If we’re lucky, and blessed, he might just manage to say one of those things in a slightly different way, with the right different word, or just the right tone of voice, or while standing with his weight on one particular foot, or something- anything- so that this time, maybe just this one time- the world will hear it.

The same, the same, the same. In essence, in substance, in truth- the same. A change in style, a change in emphasis, a change in methodology. Continuity ignored by others because of ideology. Changes attacked by others because of ideology. Lots of people missing the point.

I guess it is like Vatican II, after all.

24 Replies to “As Exciting as Vatican II!!”

  1. This is baseless. Conservadorism is one thing. Orthodoxy is quite another. Heresy is one thing. Liberalism is quite another. Heresy is a very grave sin. I would caution against presuming all liberals are herectics. And I don`t see why all orthodox folks are necessarily conservatives. Orthodoxy has more to do with essences whereas conservadorism is about essences and accidents. Pope Francis for instance is very orthodox, but he`s not a conservative by any measure.

  2. I don't think anyone assumes that all liberals are heretics, since one can be liberal about matters which are not doctrine. But in fact most liberals in the Church ARE heretics, because they choose not to believe or accept things that have been settled Church doctrine for 2000 years. And what is "Conservadorism"? The standard term is "conservatism", and this seems to be a term of art among your friends.

  3. My reply to those who cite "the Spirit of Vatican II": Catholics are forbidden to consort with spirits.

  4. The biggest surprise for most is the Pope is actually Catholic. The world and the hostile Media (both in and out of the Church) are trying to subvert the Church and its message as they have subverted other institutions. It does not help that the Holy Father sometimes is not as clear as his predecessor. Then again, it also the fault of many of the recipients for reading his words through a pair of glasses other than the Church.

  5. Well said, Adam. I agree with the "spirit" of your post. As my pastor said this weekend: He didn't make it easier to be a Catholic, he made it harder. We're expected to live the full Gospel and doctrine, not just a few, select points. What does this mean for music? Perhaps exploring ALL of the options available. This may mean venturing into chant, the Propers, and (mercy!) Latin.

  6. ……Not just living in "Option 4" with guitars, keyboards, and the New Main St. Singers on the mics…

  7. The thing is, if you read John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis, what you get is this: All have said in essence the same thing. It's just the speaking style that differs. So this is a consolation. The full splendor of Christ said in a variety of ways. I think that Paul the Apostle modeled the same thing. Speak in the language of the person you're conversing with, speak to "where they're at," but hold to the centrality of Christ at all times.

    Diversity is good. All varieties of gifts form one Body of Christ. (Speaking of which, polyphony is a multiplicity of voices, weaving around each other to form one musical vision.) Consider the many ways in which our Holy Fathers have spoken – to be diverse choral parts forming one polyphonic composition called "The Magisterium.". The Polyphony of many voices is who we are – all singing Christ.

  8. Thank you for this … well written, and really cheered me up. I wish more people would realise this. I have a lot of contact with the far right who hang on every word Pope Francis says and eagerly await evidence that he's the modernist heretic spawn from hell prophesied in the Omen books/movies.

  9. Everybody's talking about the Pope – and some people will actually go and look further, deeper. And if just one person takes another step down the road to conversion, to the Gospel, I'm pretty darn happy. Thanks, Adam, for some concise clarification on who people want the Pope to be – and who he might really be!

  10. Sorry, but I can't as yet buy into the "this guy's no different except perhaps for style" assessment. There very well may be a substantive difference between "two and six candles."

  11. "The liberals that are currently thrilled will eventually realize that he preaches the same Gospel as did those who came before him. Upon learning this, they will either reject him as backward-thinking, or else it will be made clear that "liberal" is not synonymous with "heretic.""

    I've been hearing this for six months now. I'm not a defector yet.

    Instead of a change in style and emphasis, I detect a change in tone. It is amazing that one person can affect so many people just by re-stating the "same." Maybe the words alone are insufficiently orthodox. Maybe one must communicate the tone of the Lord as well as his content.

    It's a great time to be a Catholic, no doubt!


  12. What, JohnO, you have no love for the nooftet sound or "Do what the Good Book tells you to, O yeah?"

  13. There's more to it than a change of style or tone, I think. A change of priorities, a change from prescription and proscription to exhortation and challenge, a change from authority to example. I love this pope!

  14. Ya got me, Charles ( that is, the word "nooftet." Nice invention, or phoneticization of "neuf"?). I was wondering if anyone got the "A Mighty Wind" reference

  15. I have a honest question to ask here. Why is that anybody in the Church that simply questions not criticize this Pope's actions or words are somehow MORE CATHOLIC THAN THE POPE? I mean whenever the last pope we had made mistakes and this includes even retiring a lot of people were jumping all over it? Just a thought. Perhaps it is because of something called a double standard because of the personality cult that has been built around Francis since his election. We saw the same thing with JPII did we not no questions allowed. What is free speech for or are we losing it. Bottom line he is only HUMAN and will be questioned.

  16. Interesting, though, now that I think of it. Pope Francis first encyclical "Lumen Fidei (Light of Faith)" was written mostly by Benedict XVI. Pope Francis clearly acknowledges this, and publicly thanks Benedict for it. Francis stands on this encyclical as an authoritative teaching of the Church, which he promoted at the latest World Youth Day in Rio De Janiero in July 2013. Here is a fine example of the "hermaneutic of continuity" carried forward.

  17. Then you misinterpret my comment. I don't claim to know better than anyone, including the Pope or you for that matter. I simply intended to note that the jury is still out as to whether the Pope's style has substantive design or, short of that, substantive effect. Only time will tell. Peace, Mr. Wood.

  18. I think he's a master media manipulator. He knows what to say to grab headlines, and make it seem like he's the most humble / just folks kind of guy. I am still waiting and seeing whether this translates to: more clarity of Church teaching, more "reverting" Catholics, etc. Or if all just translates into "what an awesome pope, not like the other popes" comments.

  19. He certainly is savvy. I don't think clarity is in the works, except the message "love one another." Not a bad thing, but, as has been noted here (I think), conversion is a 2-way street. So, maybe there will be more people in the pews. How many will be living the full Gospel, as the Pope has exhorted us to do, and how many will be cafeteria Catholics, taking what they want? Does his "big tent" approach strengthen the Church or potentially harm it? I think I've talked back in a circle to the beginning of these issues… at any rate, doctrine, the Gospels, Mother Church, are larger than one individual, even if that individual was elected by the grace of the Holy Spirit. Too heavy for a lunch-time post!

  20. Good points.
    I know there's a consensus among many, including clerics, that is very much in the mode of current publicity thought-
    Catholics are ecstatic because the MSM's blanketing of HHF's utterings keeps the Church on the front burner of public consciousness. That is just like a Madison Avenue or publicist's take. But that sword has two edges, which is what we've experience for epochs.
    Headlines and being the Lead Story on the nightly telecast are almost guaranteed to be antithetical to the real truth behind any story about anything. Like we need more shallow catholic practicioners.

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