The Consequences of the Liberalisation of Canon and Civil Law
Martin Kelly is admittedly on home turf when discussing the law albeit usually Civil and Criminal rather than Canon Law. The parallels with the havoc wrought by that suave vandal Roy Jenkins need bearing in mind. Martin's insights on recent events and the role of the 'bookish Bavarian' deserve reproducing at length:
To use a phrase rarely mentioned on this blog, Vatican II, one can only note the timing of this peak in relation to the greatest liberalisation in the history of Our Faith and Our Church. Maybe this liberalisation was the 'Reformation' that some of Our Church's less lucid critics seem to think it should now undergo. Maybe that council's reforming spirit extended far beyond those areas it was intended to reform, regard for canon law and the rule of canon law becoming obscured in favour of the treatment and absolution of misconduct, no matter how sinful, scandalous and unbecoming, the concept of punishment being sidelined on the way to being forgotten; the God of Justice being diminished in favour the God of Mercy. If this is the case, it's not and has never been a crisis of doctrine, or of faith, or morals. It's been a crisis of liberal legalism instead, the liberals gaining the whip hand over the conservatives and using every means at their disposal to keep them from influence. This is not surprising. It's what liberalism does and what liberals do wherever and whenever they come into ascendancy. One can see a direct analog in such behaviour with the extreme liberalisation of British civil society which occurred at the same time as Vatican II. One could note the appalling levels of moral and spiritual degredation in which many thousands of poorly-led, poorly-instructed British people live and say without a word of a lie that Roy Jenkins did more harm to Britain and the British than the Catholic Church ever could. Bigotry is not introspective, and it's always funny to hear extreme civic liberal bigots scream and demand that the whole Church be held to account for some of its members' crimes, when in reality it is perfectly possible that those who bear responsibility for failing to confront and punish these crimes, those who spurned the power that was at their fingertips, in those dusty books on their shelves, were cut from the same ideological cloth as those critics who would now have them torn to pieces. To describe unchecked liberalism as cannibalistic is to do a dis-service to cannibalism, for few cannibals make the act of eating their own children as liberalism causing liberal to chew up and spit out liberal as mundane as it seems to be. It should never be forgotten just how closely Humanae Vitae followed on the heels of Vatican II's closure. Maybe it was recognised that the door had been opened too far, and needed a shove back in the right direction. Maybe the anti-religious forces of the world, those beliefs and practices which some still dare call 'civilised', were coiled up just waiting for the closure of Vatican II to unleash themselves in a burst of pent-up energy. Maybe it's not Reformation that Our Church needs. Maybe it's Counter-Reformation.
Perhaps that's why there is such hatred of the person of Ratzinger, for those who would try to see Our Church destroyed recognise that that small, elderly, bookish Bavarian is just the man to launch that counter-reformation, to unleash that zealous missionary spirit that this most glorious church, custodian and embodiment of our most glorious religion, seems to need in its most ancient centres and oldest Western homes. Ad multos annos, Papa. The Lord be with you.