A Re-Wording of the Spirit of Vatican II

I was listening this morning to a Catholic talk radio station. The host was interviewing someone who described the effect of Vatican II with a term I have not heard before used in this context: Protestantism.

At first, I thought I had misunderstood what he said, but he repeated the word. He said that the reforms of Vatican II were attempts to return the Church to its more ancient roots which he likened to the reforms of protestantism.

I have to disagree with all due respect to the radio guest.

Vatican II was a thoroughly Catholic event under the guidance of two Popes, John XXIII and Paul VI. Both were vicars of Christ. The Holy Spirit guided the workings of this council as He has done in previous ecumenical councils. Of this, there can be no doubt unless one apostasizes from the one true faith. One may have some thoughts about how the reforms of the liturgy, ecumenism, religious liberty, etc. were operationalized, (and in fact we are updating the language of the Eucharistic liturgy – another reform resulting from Vatican II, not in a break from it or in opposition to it) but I don’t think one can accurately describe the results of Vatican II as protestantism.

The protestant reformation was a very different occurence, and sprang up in opposition to papal authority and Church Tradition (capital “T” not small “t” tradition).

Let us be careful with the words we are using to describe the influence of the Holy Spirit in the Catholic Church.

3 thoughts on “A Re-Wording of the Spirit of Vatican II

  1. Loretta

    Why all the grumbling this week?
    Gadhafi’s death…, grumble, grumble.
    Essence…(not used to suit you)… grumble, grumble.
    Protestantism…(not reform minded like Vatican 11) grumble grumble.

    Let us be joyful!
    Peace be with you,
    Loretta

  2. Mike Young

    I am not sure of what was all said but there were things that the Church needed correcting in the time of the Reformation and that is what perhaps they were referring to. As perhaps today there are things that could be changed that perhaps would help, the manner of hierarchy of the church seems to be a far cry from the teachings of Christ in many circumstances and just their physical appearance of our Church leaders with their outward need for ‘pomp and circumstance’ seems bit much.
    Pax
    Mike

  3. Deacon Bob Post author

    Thanks so much, Loretta, for reminding me that it is joy that brings others to Christ.

    Thanks too, Mike, for your comment. The externals are distracting at times, rather than useful in leading us to a deeper union with God.

    Vatican II was not a reformation in the sense of the Protestant Reformation, but rather an “aggiornomento” (Pope John XXIII’s term) or an updating of the Church’s practices. I recall so vividly how it all was talked about as it was unfolding back in the 60s. It was said over and over again that nothing in faith or morals were being changed, nothing having to do with the “essence” if you will of doctrine, but its expression in the contemporary world was seeking a newness under the influence of the Holy Spirit. The effects of Vatican II are still being developed and lived even though 50 years has passed. It was and is a thoroughly Catholic event impacting not only those formally in the Catholic Church but all those even remotely attached to her by virtue of baptism or influence of conscience.

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