Tuesday, August 9, 2005

"Living Vatican II"

Pontifications presents an essay by George Sim Johnston.
If the Church was in such good shape before the council, why did things fall apart so rapidly in the 1960s?

Maybe because too many people thought of renewal as in urban renewal, and treated the implementation of the Council like a slum clearance project.


  1. Anonymous9:31 PM

    George Weigel (who is not a foe of Vatican II, but a pretty severe critic of the "spirit of Vatican II") once noted that Vatican II opened a window to the modern world; unfortunately, it was precisely at the time when the air out there was becoming pretty stinky.

    I would add that the late 40's and '50's were the decades when American Catholics began moving out of their urban ethnic enclaves and moving to the suburbs. JFK notwithstanding, I would imagine some newly middle-class Catholics felt a bit ashamed of their old "bells and smells" religion around their new Protestant neighbors and seized on any change, no matter how silly, as a sign that "see, we're hip and modern too!"

  2. Reminds me of my rumor that the last words of Pope Pius XII were "If they're going to open the windows, the paperweights are in the ..."

    You might be suggesting a good liturgical baseline: is there a video of President Kennedy's funeral Mass available?

  3. Anonymous5:39 PM

    Terrence: Good question! I don't think I've ever seen footage of the JFK funeral mass. (I'm a bit too young to remember the event itself - b. 1959, 8/10/59 to be exact.) I've seen the procession, John-John's salute etc, many times, but never the mass itself. I find it hard to believe that it wasn't filmed, though.

  4. ...complete with Mozart's Requiem Mass performed by the Boston Symphony and its Chorus.

    I don't know about a video, but there WAS a 33LP...

  5. On the larger question, your analogy of the Political/Theological crossover is quite good.

    In addition, but most hurtful, was the rise of the "me" generation, the way for which was paved by a clericalism (Father is always right and, by the way, entitled to a good chunk of worldly goods) which quickly transferred to the laity.

    IOW, the First Commandment's sharp edges were wearing---and no longer able to hold.

    The Litigious Society happens to be the next phase, albeit in its (largely) secular manifestation.