instruere...inlustrare...delectare Disputations

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Things have changed

In his speech last Friday at the University of Dallas Ministry Conference, Cardinal Maradiaga spoke boldly, and frequently, of change in the Church [emphasis added]:
The Vatican II Council officially acknowledged that things had changed, and captured the need for such a change in its Documents....

This change in the concept of priesthood is a fundamental one: “In Christ the priesthood is changed” (Hebrews 7: 12).

Nowadays, the Church finds herself facing a demanding change, the most profound change in her history since primeval times.

...the temptation of Europeanizing and Italianizing the Church has always been one tied to pretenses to power. Fortunately, things have changed.

To change the system, it would be necessary to destroy the power of the new feudal lords.

If Jesus calls the poor ‘blessed’ is because he is assuring them that their situation is going to change, and consequently it is necessary to create a movement that can bring about such a thing, restoring dignity and hope to them.
Note that he's not talking about a change from the days of Pope Benedict XVI. He's talking about a change that dates from Vatican II.

People who are uneasy with the changes at and following Vatican II are -- well, I won't say "right to feel uneasy," but they are consistent in feeling uneasy with Pope Francis and his counselor, Cardinal Maradiaga. At any rate, the grounds for discomfort are largely the same.

This is why I doubt it will do any good to take up a direct defense of Cardinal Maradiaga's remarkable claim about modernism -- a term which, to those who are uneasy with Vatican II, means nothing else than "the synthesis of all heresies":
The Second Vatican Council was the main event in the Church in the 20th Century. In principle, it meant an end to the hostilities between the Church and modernism, which was condemned in the First Vatican Council... Modernism was, most of the time, a reaction against injustices and abuses that disparaged the dignity and the rights of the person.
Whether and how the cardinal's statement can be reconciled with Pascendi Dominici Gregis is just this week's microargument over whether and how Vatican II can be reconciled with the pre-Conciliar Church. Taking up the microarguments is like drilling holes in a tree; if you really want to bring it down, you have to strike at the root. We have to find and address the fundamental disagreement, which we can only do by starting with a point of agreement.

Still, those who are objecting to the Cardinal's speech seem to be right in this: He is saying things about the Church that were not being said by cardinals in the 1950s. Insist on a hermeneutic of continuity all you want, Cardinal Maradiaga -- not to mention Pope Francis -- is calling for a change in how Catholics think and act. People who oppose such a change are at least correct in seeing that it's being called for.