Sunday, 27 February 2011

Vatican II and the Extraordinary Mgr Loftus

Pope John XXIII opening the Second Vatican Council
in an obvious move to simplify the ceremonial of the Church

In this month's Leeds diocesan newspaper, Mgr Basil Loftus (that Litigious Parson of unhappy memory) reviews a book produced in a local parish which goes under the snappy title of "The impact on the Church of the Second Vatican Council 45 years 0n" It is a collection of essays on various of the Council's documents. I don't want to bore you by reproducing the review on this blog but you can read it here if you really want to. (Not the easiest site in the world to use but it's on page 17.)

The Monsignor draws on Wordsworth's excited and laudatory description of the French Revolution to make a comparison with the Second Vatican Council - although the quote from The Prelude (1805) is incorrect, I think it should read "Bliss it was in that dawn to be alive". Bad form, I would say, to misquote someone in a book review! (Wordsworth was later to become completely disillusioned with events in France.)

Considering the bloody outcome for many and the difficult consequences for the Church, I would have thought it was not a very flattering comparison. However, on closer inspection, we might draw out some interesting parallels. It may well have been that there were just causes for the grievances against their rulers that led to the French Revolution. The ideals that inspired it may have been laudable but very quickly much that was done in its name was shameful and completely removed from those ideals. What the Second Vatican Council called for may have been quite necessary and the inspiration behind the documents very laudable but some of what has followed and been done in its name is shameful and completely removed from those ideals.

We might pause to remember that the ultimate inspiration behind the Council and its documents is the Holy Spirit. Our Lord guaranteed that in founding His Church. However, the actual documents are the only things guaranteed by that unsurpassable source - anything vague and done "in the spirit" of the Council must prove its provenance by direct quotes from the Council Documents for many now believe that we have departed from its mandates.

We might also pause to recall that since the Council and what has been done in its name, the Church has not exactly been flourishing. The closure in every town and city of this country of our convents, monasteries, churches and seminaries are clear evidence of that. The elephant in the corner that everyone is too polite to mention. Many who invested themselves in the idea of change and all that's new must be good did so out of praiseworthy motives but now that our churches are empty, they can't go back on a lifetime invested in those very changes. The greatest among them have been able to see that it wasn't working and our Holy Father is a prime example of this. Of course, those on the extreme liberal wing maintain the decline is because the Council's intentions have been diverted and we haven't gone far enough in dismantling the past. Perhaps all we are awaiting is a liberal Robespierre to bring its true intentions to fruition.

Those like the Monsignor of Leeds however write from a well-known and obvious liberal bias (if not to say freely-admitted communist influence bias, in this case ) and it shows through nowhere more clearly than in his assessment of some documents of the Council. The liberal agenda chooses those it can interpret to its own advantage and lauds them but rejects other documents - despite them all coming out of the same Spirit-filled Council. Thus from the review comes this little gem:
Not all the conciliar documents are covered. Those, for instance on Education and the Communications media are disappointing and inadequate, not to say, in some instances, harmful.
To describe the decrees of the Second Vatican Council as "harmful" would seem to place the holder of such views in a rather difficult position in regard to the Church. The furore last year was when the Monsignor threatened to sue when he was called a heretic. Are his views heretical?

........You might very well think that...

.............I couldn't possibly comment.

Having taken the Monsignor's name in vain I await the customary writs!
(In fact this article was brought to my attention by a friend, a former parishioner of the good Mgr, who must remain anonymous - Mgr Loftus threatened to sue him more than once! Ah! The live-and-let live attitude of the freewheeling modern priest.)


georgem said...

Ah, but Father, don't you see that the resounding success of the spirit of Vatican 2 has been the wholesale closure of seminaries, monasteries and convents.
All the better to empower the Ministry of the Laity (as long as there are just sufficient numbers of clerics to lord it over them).
PS My lawyer doesn't know I've written this.

Bradford Exile said...

It comes as no surpise to see this kind of dross in the Leeds Diocesan Rag - it is edited by an ex-priest with a nasty reputation. He was heard on the BBC a few years ago abusing parishioners who wanted to hand a petition to their Bishop. Needless to say, he is well thought of by the kindly (parish-eating) Bishop Roach.

Richard Collins said...

I doubt the Catholics of the Vendee who went to their deaths locked in barges that were scuppered so that they drowned in their many hundreds or were locked inside churches that were then put to the torch, would agree with the Monsignor. Although, come to think of it, there is an analogy there of sorts.....

Peter said...

It is interesting to see that the good Mgr. believes it acceptable to consider some of the VII documents harmful. The SSPX would agree with him there. They might choose different passages to to object to but, as a liberal, he should not object to their choice.

Anonymous said...

A look in the diocesan directories for Leeds over the last 25 years will give any interested reader an idea of what "growth" in the last forty years has meant for the parish which is selling this book.
Perhaps they need to wake up and smell the (Fairtrade) coffee.