Sunday, September 8, 2019

TANQUAM NON FUERIT - Part 1

Recently, both Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and our own archbishop (of Agana, who was probably just echoing Benedict) have lain at least part of the blame - for what Benedict himself once called “the filth in the Church” - at the feet of “The Sexual Revolution.”



Reuters reported that Benedict wrote:


“Among the freedoms that the Revolution of 1968 sought to fight for was this all-out sexual freedom, one which no longer conceded any norms.”

As much as I love and respect Benedict 16 (and our new archbishop), Ben 16 must be fingered as one of the progenitors of the problem which he now wants to criticize at age 91.

Several years before 1968, and "Woodstock (1969), there was Vatican II (1961),  the Original Revolution.

Now, hang on, hear me out. I'm not the Latin Mass reactionary that some think I am (I don't even attend the only Latin Mass available on Guam - for reasons I may reveal someday).

Ben 16 himself said that he participated in throwing out the "schema" of John 23 on the FIRST day of the Council.

I copy here part of a column I wrote for the Umatuna, and titled "The Lost Synod,"  published on 3/3/13:

Pope Benedict is one of the last living major figures who was present at the Council and he has spent much of his pontificate orienting the church towards its true meaning. Thus, the news that he would be holding an informal “chat” (as he called it) about the Council just days before retirement, had the air of a sort of “tell all” - a sharing of thoughts not normally shared in the otherwise careful and restrictive world of papal statements.

The pope did not disappoint - and left us much upon which to reflect. But the comment which caught my attention was his passing reference to the “Roman Synod”. It caught my attention because the Roman Synod is rarely if ever referenced by church authorities, and is considered by some to be a “lost synod” - erased, actually.

According to the Italian historian, Romano Amerio, there is no trace of the texts of the Roman Synod in any diocesan curias or archives, and can only be found in secular libraries. (1) Given the significance of the Synod, it’s erasure from church records is a clue to why disorientation appears to plague the legacy of the Council to this day.

The Roman Synod was convened by Pope John XXIII in January, 1960. It was meant to be the “solemn forerunner of the larger gathering (Vatican II) which it was meant to prefigure and anticipate” (2), and at which, the schema, the plans for the Council, as prepared by the pope’s preparatory commission, were finalized and promulgated.

According to Amerio, Pope John believed the Council would be completed in a couple of months. The pope’s hope for a speedy council was prompted by his belief that his preparatory commission had adequately prepared the schema for the Council. Thus the Council itself would be a rather simple and straightforward affair of fleshing out the schema and ratifying the final documents. “Over by Christmas”, said the Pope on October 11, 1962, the first day of the Council. (3)

Of course the Council was NOT “over by Christmas” nor the next, nor the next. The Council carried on for three years during which Pope John died. But it could be said that his plans for the Council died first. For as Amerio recounts, and Benedict reflects, the bishops’ first order of business at the Council was to set aside every one of the prepared schema, effectively negating nearly two year’s of work by the pope’s preparatory commission and nullifying all that he promulgated at the Roman Synod. (4)

In fact, as if to emphasize that this was their Council (the bishops) and NOT the pope’s, Amerio records that not only was the Synod never referenced in any Council document,  every trace of it was deleted from church archives. It was treated, as Amerio says, “tanquam non fuerit” (“as if it had never been”). (5)

Throwing the pope’s agenda in the trash is a pretty profound way to commence an ecumenical council, especially one of the size and impact of Vatican II. However, even Pope Benedict saw this as a good thing. In his “chat”, Benedict labeled the Roman Synod a “negative model” - a view which implies that he saw the tossing of its texts overboard (even if they did contain the papal desires) a sign that the Holy Spirit was present at the Council from the beginning.

In short, the Council, immediately upon convening, unmoored itself from the pope who had convened it. And while such an action may well be evidence of the presence of the Holy Spirit guiding the Council beyond the mere wishes of a particular pope, it calls into question the credibility of those who insist that the effects of the Council were envisioned by John XXIII. As we just saw, and as Benedict affirmed, they were not.

In fact, not only did the final documents of the Council NOT embody Pope John’s vision as promulgated at the Roman Synod, according to Amerio, the papal agenda “was contradicted and negated in almost every detail.” (6) Nowhere is this more obvious than in the liturgical legislation called for by Pope John at the Roman Synod.

Later, both John Paul II and Benedict XVI, would be warriors for "Tradition." However, at Vatican II, in the sex-soaked 60's, they were both young revolutionaries - members of the "Periti" - the theological "experts" who ran Vatican II while the bishops, descendants of the Apostles, partied, drank, and signed (remember: Judas was an Apostle) wherever the Periti told them to - for much less than "30 pieces of silver."

(TO BE CONTINUED...)




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