THE CHURCH OF EXTREMES
When I was in the seminary, there was real talk about the Catholic Church changing its name. Now this talk was amongst seminarians inspired by Vatican II and the euphoric attitude the Church had concerning ecumenism in the immediate aftermath of the "spirit" of Vatican II. What better gesture toward ecumenism than to change the Catholic Church's name to the Christian Church. That would unite us with all those who are Christian. The only requisite for receiving Holy Communion is that we be Christian, that is baptized in one form or another. Instant Christian unity, everything else could be sacrificed and was considered fluff!
Now mind you, I'm not talking about serious theologians and bishops considering this, it was the lunatic left that was a very powerful force in the late 1960's and 1970's, drunk on the euphoria of the "spirit" of Vatican II.
But consider what more radical, left leaning reformers after Vatican II did to the Church and her Catholic identity.
1. They dismantled all traditional Catholic piety including a very powerfully strong Marian piety. The Holy Rosary was definitely out! Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament was out--the tabernacle was moved to locations that very few people would visit except for the most die hard of adorers. Novenas, processions and the devotional music were out.
2. The Mass itself was reformed to reflect Protestant sensitivities and allure them to become enamored with the Mass as meal, simplified, in the vernacular,and devotion surrounding it not as pietistic, all the things that would appeal to Protestant sensibilities and thus bring us closer together.
3. The English translation of the Mass was a paraphrase of the original Latin reform of the Mass. In many places the English translation has no resemblance to the Latin meaning whatsoever. This is now being shown with the new English translation which is more faithful to the Latin, especially as it concerns theology and doctrine which are the most important things to be preserved. In many of the translations there is the heresy of Palagism. Catholic devotion is lost in terms of superlatives to describe the Church, Christ, Eucharistic actions, the Blessed Virgin Mary and the saints. All of this would appeal to Protestant sensibilities. It would dumb down our Catholic identity and it certainly has (the law of prayer is the law of belief and if the prayer is wrong, diminished, heretical and dumbed down, the same happens to our belief!)
What Pope Benedict has done in his short papacy is to identify the need to the Catholic Church to be unabridged in her Catholic identity. He has done this with his theology of "Reform within continuity" approach with what the Church was prior to Vatican II. He has sought to bring about inner healing in the Church so that we do not view the Church prior to the Second Vatican II as some nasty anachronistic institution that Vatican II did away with and instituted something entirely new altogether.
The liberal allowance of the "unreformed" Mass using the Missal of 1962 which was the missal used at Vatican II is a sign that what was good for the Church since the 1500's if not before cannot be bad for the Church today.
The Holy Father's view of Christian unity is important too. It means that those who wish to enter the full communion of the Catholic Church which is always to be understood as being under the authority of the successor of St. Peter, the Pope, means that they must become more Catholic, the Catholic Church does not become more Protestant.
Thus we have the Anglican Ordinariate. This structure will allow Anglicans and Episcopalians to return to the full communion of the Catholic Church but only after its Protestant ideologies are purified. However, their tradition of prayer and liturgy that are in keeping with Catholic traditions can be retained. There is now talk of Lutherans returning to the Full Communion of their Church (The Catholic Church) through a similar means! Pope Benedict is the pope of Christian unity!
The greatest struggle the Church has now is with her own. Those who wish to remake the Catholic Church according to the principles of liberal Protestantism symbolized by the Episcopal Church.
That won't wash! Yes many Catholics want a Church that is no different from Protestant communions, embraces all the secular trends concerning human sexuality and marriage, included homosexual marriage, divorce, remarriage and a million other combinations of human relationships. It won't work though. It can't! The Church can never be officially opposed to Christ and His teachings. That would make us the Anti-Christ.
Yes, we will see many Catholics defecting for more liberal expressions of Christianity and for no religion whatsoever. We have to let them go if we can't persuade them to change and convert to Christ.
Yes, the Catholic Church many be fewer in numbers and that's just fine if we are faithful to Christ and our Catholic identity.
The "spirit" of Vatican II babel is not dead. It keeps rearing its ugly head in diehard liberal theologians. At least in this case below, the bishops of the United States grab the "bull" and it is that, by the horns and call it for what it is:
READ THE USCCB'S CRITIQUE OF A NEW IDEA OF GOD FROM A CATHOLIC KUMBAYA SISTER BY PRESSING THIS SENTENCE!