The Rooster Who Caused the Sun to Rise
You will be familiar with the logical fallacy of post hoc ergo propter hoc. When one thing happens after another thing, it is easy to assume that the first thing caused the second. Our rooster, Hermes, like Chanticleer, no doubt believes his crow causes the sun to rise.
The great Church council known as Vatican II was held from 1962 to 1965. Its resulting documents were different from those produced by all previous councils. They were meant to be "pastoral." For the first time, the Church wanted to sit down and chat. The documents were long, equivocal and unclear in application. It is not recorded that anyone read them since.
In fact, they were compromise documents produced by a well-organized "Rhine Alliance" over a strenuous, but, ultimately doomed conservative rearguard led by Cardinal Ottaviani.
The lack of clarity of the council documents (due to their gaseous style as much as compromise after acrimonious debate) allowed differing interpretations. Between the cracks of fact and logic in these documents sprouted "The Spirit of Vatican II."
Nearly everything we don't like about Vatican II, from ecumenism to Marty Haugen are fruits of these noxious Vatican II weeds. The ritual smashing of the altar rails on Wednesday, December 9, 1965 -- after the official close of the Council -- became a symbol of the destruction of the Church. By 1970 the Roman Catholic Church had ceased to exist, all because of Vatican II.
This is the accepted story, at any rate.
The Bear, however, has always wondered about this.
Which Came First: The Church Collapse Chicken or the Vatican II Egg?
If we don't like Vatican II, we must concede that there existed a sizable body of thought within the Church that proposed the things Vatican II approved. There were important movers and shakers, and, in the end, a majority of the council fathers who went along with it all. If the Church is rotten, it was rotten in those halcyon days before the council it gave birth birth to.
Father Patrick "The Family That Prays Together Stays Together." Peyton ran the "Family Theater" television program from 1947 to 1957. In 1961, a year before Vatican II opened, Fr. Peyton packed a half-million people, including dignitaries, into San Francisco's Golden Gate Park for one of his famous rosary rallies. And, at the exact same time Vatican II was destroying the Church (at least according to the story) there rises the comforting image of Emmy-Award winning Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen on the small screen. His final program ran from 1961-1968, neatly bracketing the council.
The Bear would like to pause and highlight two points:
- Only a Church already deranged could have produced Vatican II
- The popular, high-profile Catholicism that we think of in the pre-Vatican II Church -- as exemplified by Fr. Peyton and Venerable Archbishop Sheen -- was a coat of Catholic paint on institutions that were already flying strange colors.
Something else happened in 1968, besides the Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen's final program. Pope Paul VI rejected his own Pontifical Commission on Birth Control and took a hard line against birth control. As "The Fulton Sheen Show" ended for the last time with its trademark, "Goodnight and God bless," the Catholic Church blew up.
Here, in the premeditated rebellion to Humanae Vitae is where we first get the synod on the family's now-familiar "consult your own conscience," "pastoral," voo-doo theology, backed by the best theologians, and promoted by the Catholic chattering class. The Pope was so demoralized by the revolt that he never issued another encyclical. The Bear would not dare say the Humane Vitae reaction was worse than Vatican II, but it sure impacted the Church in two ways Vatican II didn't.
- It hit Catholics where they lived and fostered a spirit of revolt.
- It demonstrated to common folks that the inmates were running the asylum.
Who Is the Guilty Party?
The Bear is not scholar enough to trace the timeline of this titanic catastrophe, but has no doubt that someone with an open mind could. But he will state plainly that it is impossible that it started with Vatican II, or that Vatican II was to blame. Oh, the majority of council fathers were guilty enough within the scope of their own stupidity, cowardice and malevolence. But they have been unfairly left holding the smoking gun over the body, when they were only stealing the silver plate.
As to the real culprits, the Bear is confident they could be discovered with diligence and a small research staff. And he doesn't mean conspiracy theories like "the freemasons," although he does not doubt their involvement.
How far back do we have to go? Back at least to the beginning of the 20th century and St Pope Pius X, who wrote the famous denunciation of Modernism in the 1907 Pascendi Domenici Gregis. Is there anyone who doubts we are still dealing with Modernism today? St. Pope Pius X noted how tricky Modernists are. When the Church is alert, they go underground. When their day arrives, they wave the red flag in your face. They're like T.S. Eliot's feline villain:
there's no one like McCavity.
he's broken every human law,
he breaks the law of gravity.
His powers of levitation
would make a fakir stare.
And when you reach the scene of the crime,
McCavity's not there!
But like most good villains, they're proud. The Bear is sure there is a paper trail. His hypothetical research project would probably start with the Index of Forbidden Books. By the way, did you know that was abolished in 1966 by Pope Paul VI? By that time inclusion was probably a badge of honor.
On second thought, such a project would no doubt unravel into antiquity, perhaps all the way back to Judas' fraudulent books. Perhaps Modernism is ever emerging from the Spiritus Mundi to seize like minds on the faculty, in the chancery, in the synod, and anywhere weak souls are captured by the proud promises of a new age.
Every age is is on the cusp of the it's own "modern" age. Our age is worse off because our Modernists have so many bad ideas to choose from, and, at the moment, sponsors in high places. In our tiny slice of time it seems Modernists have carried the day, and perhaps they have.
The Bear looks back and sees no substantial difference in outcome, whether there was a Vatican II or not. Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen may have had the ratings, but the Modernists held the key positions behind the scenes, and the trend of the times was with them. Every dog has his day and we have the misfortune to live Modernist Dog Day Afternoon. But if anything, we're better off today because the enemy is in plain sight. And while Yeats' "image out of the Spiritus Mundi" draws closer to Bethlehem, the "indignant desert birds" are all blogging, and sometimes Bears.