Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Critically reappraising the Council


Here's a brief essay touching on many of the same ideas I hope to explore in my upcoming essay on Vatican II. The author is an Anglo-Catholic priest in Normandy, of the Traditional Anglican Communion, which we hope shall be in union with Rome soon. My many thanks, Fr. Chadwick.


Good evening, friends, and welcome to my little acre of cyberspace. Please feel free to grab a beer from the fridge, draw your chair up to the hearth, and converse with my other guests and me about whatever may please you. I don't quite know how to do much with this yet, so please pardon that it may look somewhat spartan here as yet; hopefully that will soon change--and should anyone know how to add images or links or other such things, a brief letter would be appreciated.

Before I post anything (and whether I am able to post frequently or not remains to be seen), let me first indicate what it is that I am doing here and why I am doing it, starting with the title, "Et Lux in Tenebris Lucet!" This is Latin, from the introduction to the Gospel According to St. John, usually translated, "And the light shineth in darkness." Certainly these are dark times in which we live, in which our families, our communities, our politics, our religion, our academies and professions and institutions, and even our mental health seem rather topsy-turvy. Well, friends, 'twas not always so, as any cursory reading of history can attest. We'll not know where we're going unless we know whence we come, and so, I wish to shine some light on that. But lest you think I'll merely be examining history here, think again. Events are often unthinkable without the milieu behind them understood, and so, cultural studies will be discussed extesively here, and not just those of the past, but those of the present, perceived analytically, with most emphasis on what I find praiseworthy. After all, were I to list my discontents with the present day, the list would fill books, and neither you nor I have time for that.

Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, I am Roman Catholic. The genuine kind, not just one who is barely a Catholic for an hour on Sunday and a secularist indistinguishable from his neighbours for the rest of the week. Nay, I reside in the presence of Christ in the milieu of His Holy Church, or at least seek to. It's rather difficult in these days of lackadaisical and iconoclastic liberal and neoconservative churchmen for whom fighting the culture war in the aloof legislatures trumps actually building (or, more approriately, recollecting) culture separate from that of the utilitarian, materialistic world among their own flocks. Thus, much will be said here about the Church here from a traditional, legitimist perspective, with full support for the Vicar of Christ, our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI.

Consider that last paragraph an oblique reply to the one before. Catholicism is the Western Tradition. Period. The eclipse of that tradition in favour of liberalism and relativism that began with the Protestant Reformation and continued through the revolutions of modernity to its seeming triumph today has left us in a great state of disorientation and anguish. And those of us for whom the Church was, in Chesterton's words, the only thing that saved us from the banal and degrading slavery of being a child of the age, have felt ourselves betrayed by excessive aggiornamento.

I'll leave this post off. More on Vatican II when I return