On Thursday of last week, the pastor of my parish accompanied us to Notre-Dame Cathedral in Ottawa to officially inaugurate the Year of the Faith and to recognize the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council. The service was conducted as “Evening Prayer” and was similar to what one may find at attending a Vespers service.
Some time before, our pastor had asked my family if we would consider being the official representatives for our parish to this service. We were very honoured to do so, even though I must admit being somewhat uncomfortable celebrating the train wreck of the past 50 years since the launch of the Second Vatican Council. For faithful Catholics, it is sometimes a struggle to distinguish between a legitimate and binding Ecumenical Council and the disaster which followed within its wake. We must keep reminding ourselves that post hoc ergo proctor hoc is all that separates us from the deluded and the damned. I also tried to remind myself that this was a new beginning of the Second Vatican Council and that its correct interpretation must be front and center in our future mission of the new evangelization. The great irony, of course, is that the Second Vatican Council documents themselves are an immense treasure for the Church that must be discovered again.
For instance, take the issue of contraception. For all of the exasperation from the so-called “progressive” wing of the Church about Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae in 1968, three years earlier in 1965 the Second Vatican Council had already upheld the traditional teaching against contraception in Gaudium et Spes:
These, based on the nature of the human person and his acts, preserve the full sense of mutual self-giving and human procreation in the context of true love. Such a goal cannot be achieved unless the virtue of conjugal chastity is sincerely practiced. Relying on these principles, sons of the Church may not undertake methods of birth control which are found blameworthy by the teaching authority of the Church in its unfolding of the divine law. (Gaudium et Spes, 51, Second Vatican Council)
And yet, when has this little forgotten paragraph EVER been quoted by the propagandists of the Spirit of Vatican II? If you answered “never”, you would be correct. Even among the Faithful, this little nugget is rarely quoted in the context of the Church’s teaching, although we always hear about Humanae Vitae. Because of the propaganda of the social justice crowd and the stiff necks of the Church’s leadership who reclined and declined to defend the Church’s teaching on the sanctity of human life and the sexual act, we have never associated Vatican II with the prohibition on artificial birth control. Nevertheless, it’s right there in the text!
But I digress.
There were few younger families represented at the service (my wife counted a total of three). Most of the congregation was elderly and, while not wishing to broad-stroke the group, a healthy contingent was probably part of the confused social justice generation. We share one Church but the unity of Faith between us is strained in a very profound way.
Let me give you all a perfect example of this which encapsulates just what’s going on in the Church right now. We had two testimonies at the Service. One was from an elderly man (now 81 years of age) who lived through the deliberations of the Council and another one from a young woman who just happens to be the Godmother of our youngest daughter, Sophia.
The elderly gentlemen talked about the social justice gospel and the catch-phrases that go with it: “dialogue”, “pluralism”, and progressivism. The end goal seemed to align more with the Millenium goals of the U.N. than with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Hannah, on the other hand, explained how she rediscovered her Faith in High School and how her personal relationship with Christ had transformed her. She indicated her appreciation for the 2,000 years of constant teaching of the Catholic Church which helped her in her own challenges with our culture’s values. She’s involved with the Challenge movement while she attends university and hopes to be a religion teacher some day.
For the past 50 years, the message of the Church that has gotten “play” has been all about social justice . The connection to the Gospel, if there was one, was faint and rather distorted at best. It was as if these new avante guard causes were the goal and Jesus was not. You know, “dialogue” for the sake of “dialogue”, and not for the sake of getting somewhere or reaching someone, namely the Catholic Church and Jesus Christ. It was like the bridge to no where.
(When I dialogue with an opponent about abortion or contraception or gay “marriage”, the point is not to dialogue as an end, but to convince them that they are wrong — just like when I dialogue with a non-Catholic or a non-Christian. I’m not there to play footsies with them and waste my time. I told my wife when I started courting her that I wasn’t interested in flings but the real deal — marriage. She looked surprised. I said, “Why would I waste my time and your time?” It’s no different with religion or morality. If you want to dialogue with me, get ready to go somewhere.)
Socon or Bust readers will know well of what I speak, considering how we have all learned how the social justice evangelists of Development and Peace, for instance, flippantly ignore the pleas of pro-life activists and even co-operate with their own partners in advancing threats to human life in the womb and to the elderly.
There were four generations present at the Prayer Service Thursday night. The confused social justice generation who were caught up in the Spirit of the Age and adopted the ways of ”dialogue”, “tolerance”, and “pluralism”. Readers can judge what legacy that has left us. The second generation is my generation: Catholic Generation Xers, most of whom don’t have any faith to speak of largely because the witness of the previous generation is still finding itself in perpetual dialogue about nothing of consequence. (Some of us, having seen the fraud that has been perpetrated on us, have revolted, and tried to tear down the tower of Babel that they have constructed in the Church.) Hannah’s generation is the generation of the New Evangelization and of The Persecution which will seek to launch a bold way of gaining new converts while giving up much to do it. And finally, my children’s generation will be the age of martyrs; the payment required as a consequence of the “People of God” turning its back on Jesus and His Gospel to follow after the eco-Baals of the age.
This Year of the Faith is a signal year in the history of the Church. There’s change coming and the change that is coming is not just talk. There have to be consequences to everyone in the Church and there will be, whether we want it or not and whether we like it or not. It’s coming. Needless to say, the Spirit of Vatican II crowd is on the way out. As Mark Steyn is fond of saying, “demography is destiny” and if that is true – and it most certainly is - the Spirit of Vatican II is as good as dead. They have no posterity to carry their torch. The youth are with Jesus and with traditional Catholic teaching. And that’s the future of the Church, brothers and sisters. So, rejoice! Deliverance is near as we usher in a new beginning for the Catholic Church. God is good. Happy days are here again, even if we have to suffer for them.
Photo Credits: Paul Lauzon