Monday, July 12, 2010

J’accuse #1

I have spent some time thinking about what happened to the Catholic faith in the past forty years. I find myself in the peculiar position of being a member of that generation that is the immediate fruit of the implementation of the Council (not the Council itself, I might add, but the interpretation of it). It seems odd to be a Catholic at such a nadir.

I have been thinking about those charged with handing on the faith – the teachers in my school and particularly the RE department. I was fortunate to be in the last tranche of grammar school boys in the Catholic grammar school in the large northern English city in which I grew up. I had attended a convent primary and was taught by kindly nuns not at all like the caricatures one finds in the popular literature and films. We had all the traditional paraphernalia of a child’s Catholic upbringing (Corpus Christi processions, May processions etc)

One of the miracles of my life (which I put down to the prayers and heroic example of my parents in the practice of their faith) is the fact that I am still a confessing Catholic (a sinner in need of forgiveness and your prayers, dear reader) but one who lives in joyful hope as a Catholic Christian.

The miracle is that it survived the slough of dissent that constituted the RE department. The first candidate for examination I will call Mr D. Mr D had been a priest before running off with a lady friend. I know this because my seamstress aunt had been a parishioner of his and used to mend his cassock, gratis, when required. Needless to say he did not find a respectable living beyond the bounds of the church so having abandoned the solemn vows and responsibilities of his ordination, he made his way back into the Catholic education system. It probably reflects the brain-fever of the time but in retrospect putting such a man in charge of the education of Catholic children is a bit like putting Kim Philby on the staff of the MI6 training college. It may be my fading memory but I cannot remember Mr D uttering a single article of the Faith in the time I was under his charge. We were lucky to have early morning Mass at school every Thursday morning and I do remember being inspired by the example of staff members who made it to this before starting a busy day of work (history, English and science teachers of quiet but strong piety) I never saw Mr D there. What I do remember is a great deal of talk of CND and Greenham Common. I remember much inter-faith chat and talk of the inevitable dropping of compulsory clerical celibacy and ultimately the ordination of women. The playing of the guitar and ‘liturgical’ music composed after 1975 were all encouraged. I remember the volumes of Infallible? And other Kung works available in the classroom. I remember the attempted dissuasion of a friend of mine from taking an army scholarship to read for an engineering degree. The Sandinistas were praised. The USA was never referred to favourably

Mr D is now fully immersed in Inter-faith work. He is a noted admirer of the Religion of Peace being at pains to point out how peaceful it is in the immediate aftermath of four of its adherents self-combusting on London Transport causing the deaths of 52 others and untold numbers of maimings.

I imagine there are many of you out there whose faith has survived similar bonkers appointments to Catholic schools. I daresay many of my contemporaries joined the exodus of the pews and spend their Sundays in B&Q with no tangible link to the Church.

How on earth could that have happened?

10 Comments:

Blogger Rita said...

As someone still battling to educate the young within the stifling stranglehold of the national curriculum, I have to say that most of the young people I have met who have been educated within the Catholic sector have had their RE delivered by ex-nuns, ex-priests and wannabe female priests.

Why are there so many of them still in our schools? Isn't it like being taught how to drive by someone banned from driving?

12:26 PM  
Blogger Paulinus said...

More like being taught to drive by someone who wants to destroy all the roads.

3:49 PM  
Anonymous ebomania said...

I hear you.

Whilst some of my fellow 17 year olds had signed "S-forms" for football clubs, I had signed the church's equivalent as I explored a vocation to the Priesthood.

This put me on the radar of my new English teacher who undertook a 2 year long project to challenge me at every turn for being (in his mind) a ring-leader of wee guys who did mass, YSVdeP, etc.

I can recall studying Huxley's Brave New World and this gent waxed lyrical about the strengths in it, whilst I asked him how it sat with the 7 corporal works of mercy etc.

Bad move, for a while anyway.

Thanks be to God for our Form Teacher and another like minded soul on the staff who had heard Sir's staffrom rant about me and hunted me down days afterwards to congratulate me on wearing my heart and soul on my sleeve.

That wee chat still means more to me than my 2 Highers.

5:09 PM  
Blogger Simon Platt said...

And that's not to mention the lady "chaplains" ...

8:47 PM  
Blogger Martin said...

Paulinus,

I have no recollection of any of the religious education I received at my Jesuit school.

9:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem is not "post counciliar" implementation. The problem is the council - its basic premise is modernism and the world are good, therefore, reactionary "contra mundum" bad. Or in other words, "aggiornamento" good, ultramontanism to be suppressed, ecumenism good, apologetics bad. The only institution on the face of the earth that can stand against the culture of death, the Catholic Church, and it is crippled and disoriented by the theological modernism that was not caused by VCII, but was surely enabled by it.

2:16 AM  
Blogger Agellius said...

I thought you'd never ask!!

First, the problem since V2, obviously, has been an upsurge of modernism and liberalism (M&L) in the Church. I don't believe V2 was resonsible for injecting M&L into the Church -- clearly they were around beforehand. People brought M&L attitudes *to* the Council, and attempted to influence the Council to adopt M&L attitudes and doctrines.

The Council of course resisted adopting M&L outright, nevertheless the rise of M&L coincided with the end of the Council and the implementation of its decrees.

I don't claim to be an expert on the matter, but I have done a fair bit of reading. Still I can't say precisely what caused the onrush of M&L after the Council, except that for whatever reason people were no longer afraid to espouse M&L attitudes and doctrines. Again M&L attitudes existed before V2, but one had to be circumspect about when and where one discussed them; whereas after V2 you could shout them from the rooftops with no fear of reprisal.

All I can say is that the reason modernism and liberalism thrived in the Church after V2, was because there were a lot of modernists and liberals in positions of power, or at least in positions from which they could influence those in positions of power. Somehow from the time of the calling of the Council, to the time the Council ended, the M&Ls got the idea that they no longer had to keep their attitudes hidden.

This may, possibly, be the one point that critics of V2 get right: That calling a Council for no particular purpose -- or for a vague purpose such as "opening the windows and letting the air in" -- is a dangerous thing. What may have happened is that the M&Ls who were living and operating in disparate places in relative isolation from each other, all got together in one place and discovered they actually had a lot of company. And by coordinating their efforts found that they could have an influence in the Church. So they were emboldened. Not to mentioned encouraged by the secular press and the particular slant that they tried to put on the Council in the print and television media -- if anyone had the ear of the mass media it was the M&Ls.

And, apparently, Paul VI was weak -- maybe through his own fault, or maybe the fault of the circumstances in which he found himself, I don't know. But for whatever reason he didn't put a lid on these things and did not keep a strong rein on the implementation of the Council. Maybe he simply did not have sufficient numbers of loyal and orthodox allies in the Vatican.

While it has been a difficult time to be an orthodox Catholic, we have also been privileged to witness it, since we have seen how the tide has finally been turned. The M&Ls gave it their best shot and failed to upset the Barque. God be praised.

12:50 AM  
Blogger Agellius said...

I thought you'd never ask!!

First, the problem since V2, obviously, has been an upsurge of modernism and liberalism (M&L) in the Church. I don't believe V2 was resonsible for injecting M&L into the Church -- clearly they were around beforehand. People brought M&L attitudes *to* the Council, and attempted to influence the Council to adopt M&L attitudes and doctrines.

The Council of course resisted adopting M&L outright, nevertheless the rise of M&L coincided with the end of the Council and the implementation of its decrees.

I don't claim to be an expert on the matter, but I have done a fair bit of reading. Still I can't say precisely what caused the onrush of M&L after the Council, except that for whatever reason people were no longer afraid to espouse M&L attitudes and doctrines. Again M&L attitudes existed before V2, but one had to be circumspect about when and where one discussed them; whereas after V2 you could shout them from the rooftops with no fear of reprisal.

All I can say is that the reason modernism and liberalism thrived in the Church after V2, was because there were a lot of modernists and liberals in positions of power, or at least in positions from which they could influence those in positions of power. Somehow from the time of the calling of the Council, to the time the Council ended, the M&Ls got the idea that they no longer had to keep their attitudes hidden.

This may, possibly, be the one point that critics of V2 get right: That calling a Council for no particular purpose -- or for a vague purpose such as "opening the windows and letting the air in" -- is a dangerous thing. What may have happened is that the M&Ls who were living and operating in disparate places in relative isolation from each other, all got together in one place and discovered they actually had a lot of company. And by coordinating their efforts found that they could have an influence in the Church. So they were emboldened. Not to mentioned encouraged by the secular press and the particular slant that they tried to put on the Council in the print and television media -- if anyone had the ear of the mass media it was the M&Ls.

And, apparently, Paul VI was weak -- maybe through his own fault, or maybe the fault of the circumstances in which he found himself, I don't know. But for whatever reason he didn't put a lid on these things and did not keep a strong rein on the implementation of the Council. Maybe he simply did not have sufficient numbers of loyal and orthodox allies in the Vatican.

While it has been a difficult time to be an orthodox Catholic, we have also been privileged to witness it, since we have seen how the tide has finally been turned. The M&Ls gave it their best shot and failed to upset the Barque. God be praised.

12:51 AM  
Blogger Agellius said...

I thought you'd never ask!!

First, the problem since V2, obviously, has been an upsurge of modernism and liberalism (M&L) in the Church. I don't believe V2 was resonsible for injecting M&L into the Church -- clearly they were around beforehand. People brought M&L attitudes *to* the Council, and attempted to influence the Council to adopt M&L attitudes and doctrines.

The Council of course resisted adopting M&L outright, nevertheless the rise of M&L coincided with the end of the Council and the implementation of its decrees.

I don't claim to be an expert on the matter, but I have done a fair bit of reading. Still I can't say precisely what caused the onrush of M&L after the Council, except that for whatever reason people were no longer afraid to espouse M&L attitudes and doctrines. Again M&L attitudes existed before V2, but one had to be circumspect about when and where one discussed them; whereas after V2 you could shout them from the rooftops with no fear of reprisal.

All I can say is that the reason modernism and liberalism thrived in the Church after V2, was because there were a lot of modernists and liberals in positions of power, or at least in positions from which they could influence those in positions of power. Somehow from the time of the calling of the Council, to the time the Council ended, the M&Ls got the idea that they no longer had to keep their attitudes hidden.

This may, possibly, be the one point that critics of V2 get right: That calling a Council for no particular purpose -- or for a vague purpose such as "opening the windows and letting the air in" -- is a dangerous thing. What may have happened is that the M&Ls who were living and operating in disparate places in relative isolation from each other, all got together in one place and discovered they actually had a lot of company. And by coordinating their efforts found that they could have an influence in the Church. So they were emboldened. Not to mentioned encouraged by the secular press and the particular slant that they tried to put on the Council in the print and television media -- if anyone had the ear of the mass media it was the M&Ls.

And, apparently, Paul VI was weak -- maybe through his own fault, or maybe the fault of the circumstances in which he found himself, I don't know. But for whatever reason he didn't put a lid on these things and did not keep a strong rein on the implementation of the Council. Maybe he simply did not have sufficient numbers of loyal and orthodox allies in the Vatican.

While it has been a difficult time to be an orthodox Catholic, we have also been privileged to witness it, since we have seen how the tide has finally been turned. The M&Ls gave it their best shot and failed to upset the Barque. God be praised.

12:52 AM  
Blogger Agellius said...

Sorry for the multiple posts, no idea how that happened.

12:37 AM  

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