Congratulations to Prof. Dr. Roberto de Mattei for receiving the 44th Acqui Storia award – the most prestigious award for history books in Italy – for his groundbreaking history of the Second Vatican Council, Il Concilio Vaticano II: una storia mai scritta (The Second Vatican Council – a never before written history). Some victories come with a bonus – in this case, the president of the award jury, Prof. Guido Pescosolido, was so irate that the award was given to de Mattei that he resigned his position in the board.
In today’s excerpt of that work, some Council liberals begin to wonder aloud about what is taking place in the early post-Conciliar years:
The existence of a serious crisis, […] was confirmed even by some theologians coming from the progressive ranks. We will mention only some of the more significant declarations.
The historian Hubert Jedin (who had collaborated as an “expert” with Cardinal Frings at the Council) after having tried to oppose the idea of a “crisis in the Church” was obliged to admit its existence. At a meeting held by the German Episcopal Conference on the 17th September 1968, Jedin presented, History and Crisis in the Church (published in Italian by the Osservatore Romano1)140 five phenomena related to the crisis already in act in the Church:
1.insecurity in the Faith continuously on the rise, caused by a liberal diffusion of theological errors from university chairs, books and essays;
2.the effort to transfer forms of parliamentary democracy into the Church through the introduction of ‘the right to participate’ at the three levels of ecclesiastical life: the Universal Church, the dioceses, the parishes;
3.the desacralization of the priesthood;’
4.liberal “structuring” of the liturgical celebration instead of the fulfillment of the Opus Dei [Work of God, in its liturgical sense];
5.ecumenism as “Protestantization”.141
Father Henri de Lubac, one of the “fathers” of the Council, denounced the use and abuse of the principal conciliar documents at a conference held on the 29th of May 1969 at the University of St. Louis in Missouri (U.S.):
“The constitution Dei Verbum – he said – offers the pretext of a narrow Biblicism that disregards all of Tradition and ( therefore)it devours itself”, elaborating “the notion of a ‘faith of the future’, so much so that one no longer discerns what it retains from the Gospel of Jesus Christ; the constitution Lumen Gentium is interpreted “in order to transform the Church into a vast democracy” and to criticize that which is called ‘the institutional Church’ for the sake of an ideal of ‘an amorphous Christianity’ which strikes at the Divine foundation of the Church.”
The opening to the world of Gaudium et Spes becomes “an estrangement from the Gospels, a refusal of the Cross of Christ, a path towards secularism, neglect of the faith and customs, in short, a dissolution in the world, an abdication, a loss of identity, in effect – the betrayal of our duty to the world (…).
We also know how the decree on religious liberty has been distorted, when, contrary to its most explicit teaching, it is now concluded that it is not necessary anymore to proclaim the Gospel (…).
And how much criticism could be made regarding the constitution on the liturgy, so often misunderstood, at times , even sacrilegiously mocked? Or the Decree on ecumenism? (…)
What derision, once again, we find, alas, too frequently, in audacious and ostentatious application of the principals enunciated by the Council for the ‘ proper renewal’ of religious life , all the while, contradicting it! It is perhaps here that the devastation of the crisis is revealed, simultaneously, more serious and more significant (…).
What a wretched situation – with abandonment of every kind; there is such degradation in certain cases that they even approach perversions; they are then hidden beneath the banner of ‘prophetism’ or “ the requisite of truth”, under the deception of the word ‘renewal’! 142